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Confucius Lives Next Door


Power demands supremacy. The struggle for supremacy has for long been a one sided battle. The West has been shaping the world for over 5000years. Lately this battle seems to have an equal participation. The world is turning over a new leaf. The book titled ”CONFUCIUS LIVES NEXT DOOR” by T. R. Reid explains this shift in status.

The difference between the East and the West is more than just the international date line. For years the picture envisaged is the Asians pulling auto-rickshaws for the whites. But by the year 1997,the western forces retreated and the picture was for once to be viewed differently.

One of the super powers of the East is the land of the rising sun – Japan. Their economic and political transformations are commendable. It in this land that T. R. Reid, a reporter lands with his family to head the Washington post in Tokyo. they depart from the US on an adventurous note only to find that their new home is now the beginning of a new era. They initially find it hard to adjust to the visible flaws such as the small concrete houses, nameless streets and seaweed topped pizzas. But he ends up extolling Japan and other East Asian countries for their stable families, low rates of crime and the harmony they enjoy. His children enroll in public schools where they are made to clean the school as part of a custom. The East is bound by morals rather than just the law.

The Japanese have the highest foreign exchange reserves in the world and also a better distribution of wealth. The growing prosperity has not led to a clash of traditional and contemporary attitudes. He learns from his neighbor, Mr. Mastuda, of social principles considered vital. The Japanese follow Confucianism, a social interaction model that dominates the Japanese society till date. Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, is the founder of the Confucian principle. This shows that Japan is receptive. Besides their favorite sport is soccer and the popular food chain is Kentucky Fried Chicken.


The experience of the people suggests that better moral values are instilled in their lives by adhering to the Confucian ideals. Values know no boundaries. In time we can only hope that the world learns to accept and acknowledge what is better ,irrespective of its origin. The book is not a vaunting of the East but a showcase of what the rest of the world has failed to notice over the years. The East or the West, in their struggle to be the ultimate, only progress can be ensured.