Wa (Group Harmony)


Wa (Harmony)


The idea of Wa or group harmony is an interesting aspect of Japanese culture.

The idea of sacrifice is deeply entrenched in this principle, being able to give for the sake of the many.

Being able to sacrifice a little bit to maintain peace.

Wa also embodies the idea of knowing one’s role in the group and contributing from that manner. It may seem rigid and disciplined but it is also freeing to a certain extent. It allows one’s role to be defined from what is expected of them and what they are to do, it contributes to effectiveness and being able to move projects, work & society along.

The drawback in this setting is the issue of the rigid norms setting in and one finding themselves trapped in a defined position for too long, being unhappy & uninspired as many feel in corporations and large structures.

There must always be flexibility within rigidness.

The concept of Wa, many say, arose out of necessity from a time when direct reliance on other members of one’s community was necessary for survival.

Wa was born in a time when japan was mainly an agriculturalist society where nature impressed upon the peoples who resided in the land to adopt Wa for the betterment of the collective.

This principle became more embedded into society through Prince Shotoku.



Who served as a legendary ruler and was known for his wisdom which he derived from Buddhism and asceticism.

One of his many accomplishments were to spread the Seventeen Article Constitution which held discipline in high regard.

Examples of what is comprised within the constitution are :

“Chastise that which is evil and encourage that which is good & let every man have his own charge, and let not the spheres of duty be confused.”

Wa held over the centuries due to necessity, it always made sense to belong to a group, to become part of a greater whole and to live harmoniously within it.

Harmony contributes immensely to individual and group life design.

When everything is in order, we are healthy, when things are in disorder we are not.




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