About two years ago somebody in Japan was putting envelopes full of money in public bathrooms. Up and down the country a man, assumed because the packages were left in the men’s washrooms, or group of men were dropping off envelopes of Japanese yen. The public knew about this because the packages were being turned in to the police. The police in turn contacted the media. Even though Japan has finders keepers law these people turning in free money, they’re still risking the someone else claiming the money.

Q – Do Japanese not like money? Are Japanese just that honest?

Japanese honesty does have something to do with it but it’s mostly our different value systems. In the west our moral system is based on Judeo-Christian values. Even if you don’t have the religion or are in some sort of cult you know of the basic Judeo-Christian concept of a watching, judging God. So if you find money and if you feel you have an understanding with God you take it. The Japanese don’t have this; basically the Japanese don’t have religion. Sure they have a large collection of Shinto deities, multiple Gods. But as a whole they take something from multiple religions to apply to their lives without adopting the bigger picture. i.e. They marry in a Christian ceremony with a real priest but would never ever think of themselves as Christian. Therefore the Japanese don’t have a concept of some omni-present being watching them. What they do have is a concept, really a fear of the government, the law, or other Japanese watching them. That’s why once Japanese people are out of the country they go crazy because they aren’t restrained by this concept of someone monitoring them.

So back to the point, Japanese people turn in the money because they don’t want to break the law, or they think it’s some sort of yakuza scam NOT because of some judging higher power and they feel it’s the right thing to do.

If you like this then, you should check more from the “Japan ain’t so fucked up” series:

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