Sunday, September 4, 2022

Japanese Philosophies in Business

 But after all, what are the Japanese philosophies in business?

Japan became famous for showing train station workers pointing and talking to themselves, as if they were reciting some poem. In fact, it is shisa kanko (指差喚呼), a method in work safety to avoid mistakes, pointing out important indicators and verbally declaring your status.

The ‘Point and Calling’ method, as it is also called, is an active safety behavior that has been shown to reduce human error by nearly 85%, according to a research report by Japan Railways. Workers who completed a simple task without pointing and calling made 2.38 errors per 100 actions, while workers who practiced pointing and calling made only 0.38 errors per 100 actions.

A millenary culture, with a super-evolved job market, the Japanese people have always interacted with a multitude of philosophies outside their native boundaries, most prominently Chinese, Indian, Korean, and Western. So they have benefited from a rich trove of ideas and theories on which to draw in developing their own distinctive philosophical perspectives. 

As a result Japanese proffesionals have always been acutely attuned to the intimate relations among culture, ways of thinking, and philosophical worldviews.

In this article I summarize some of these philosophies and their proposals – who knows, you may be able to appropriate some of them to improve your professional functions:

- SHUKKIN NIPPO, Daily work log (出勤にぽ日報) - every morning, before work, the employee describes their routines and plans for the day, increasing focus and awareness of what has to be done;

- KAIZEN, continuous improvement (改善) - Kaizen is the word of Japanese origin that means change for the better, used to convey the notion of continuous improvement in life in general, be it personal, family, social and work;

It is a concept that refers to personal activities that, when repeated daily, continually improves itself. The concept involves all those who carry out some activity, from the CEO to the workers on the assembly line. Kaizen also applies to processes such as purchasing and logistics. It has been applied in health, psychotherapy, life coaching, government, banking, etc;

- IKIGAI, reason for living (生き甲斐) - Iki means 'life' or 'alive' in Japanese, while Gai means 'value' or 'benefit'. The combination of these terms means what gives meaning, value and purpose to your life;

- POKA-YOKE, mistake-proofing (ポカヨケ) - it is the philosophy that directs people to avoid (yokeru) errors (poka) or defects, preventing and/or correcting them, or calling attention to them as they occur, it is derived from POKA HO YOKERU (ポカを避ける).

A simple poka-yoke example is demonstrated when a driver of the car equipped with a manual gearbox must press on the clutch pedal (a process step, therefore a poka-yoke) prior to starting an automobile;

5S in the Japanese workplace

5S is a workplace organization method that uses a list of five Japanese words: 

SEIRI, classifying (整理) - is sorting through all items in a location and removing all unnecessary items from the location;

SEITON, set in order (整頓) - is putting all necessary items in the optimal place for fulfilling their function in the workplace;

SEISO, shine (清掃) - Seiso is sweeping or cleaning and inspecting the workplace, tools and machinery on a regular basis;

SEIKETSU, standardize (清潔) - Seiketsu is to standardize the processes used to sort, order and clean the workplace, with the goal of establishing procedures and schedules to ensure the repetition of the first three ‘S’ practices.


SHITSUKE, sustain/self-discipline (躾) -  is the developed processes by self-discipline of the workers. Also translates as "do without being told", with the goal of ensuring that the 5S approach is followed.

TENKO, Roll call (点呼) -

Before leaving for an external role - a delivery, for example, the employee must write on a form, details of his/her itinerary and immediately read that form aloud so that his/her boss hears, mentioning his/her full name, role, the safety rules and company policy on the task.

When returning from external service, the employee must do one more Tenko, by law this data must be kept for one year.

CHOREI, morning meeting (朝礼) - is a brief meeting that happens every morning before starting work, 10~15 minutes per day only. The main goal of Chorei is to try to make everyone in the Company feel more like a team. Most Japanese companies that do chorei usually have their employees share their vision, goals, or company motto every morning;

SENPAI & KOHAI (先輩), senior & (後輩) junior - represent an informal hierarchical interpersonal relationship found in business organizations, associations, clubs, and schools. The concept has its roots in Confucian teaching, but it has developed a distinguished Japanese style, ultimately becoming part of Japanese culture.

There is a relationship of mutual respect in which Senpai plays the role of mentor and initiates Kohai into working traditions.

Normally, at the end of the period, Kohai waits for Senpai to leave, and then leaves. However, when the one who withdraws before, he must say:

"Osaki ni shitsureishimasu (お先に失礼します)", translated as "excuse me, I'm going ahead/first".

So, then Sempai replies "Otsukaresama deshita (お疲れ様でした) translated as "thank you for your effort/work".

OIJI (お辞儀の種類) types of bow

Eshaku, keirei and saikeirei are the three typical categories of ojigi practiced in the business world in Japan. No matter which type is chosen, it is important to pay constant attention to one's muscles and posture:

Eshaku (会釈) is generally performed with a slight inclination of about 15° of one's upper torso, usually performed between colleagues with the same status;

Keirei (敬礼), is the most commonly used variation of ojigi in Japanese business, is performed with an inclination of about 30° of the upper body;

Saikeirei (最敬礼), which literally means "the most respectful gesture", is, as the name suggests, the ojigi that shows the uttermost respect towards the other party,  with an deeper inclination of one's upper body than keirei, typically somewhere from 45° to 70°. Additionally, as saikeirei is used only in grave situations, one is expected to stay still at the bowing position for a relatively long time to show one's respect and sincerity.

HANKO(判子)INKAN (印鑑), stamp -

 is a carved stamp that can be used in any situation where an individual, or an individual on behalf of a company, might otherwise use a signature or initials. Signing contracts, doing your banking (at a bank) or receiving a parcel are just three such cases. The necessity for a hanko and even the type of hanko may vary depending on the situation.

Although the Japanese government is (reportedly) phasing out the use of hanko in many situations, you should expect the seals to stick around for a good few years yet.

RADIO TAISO(ラジオ体操), Radio Calisthenics -

Japanese companies may have found a way to boost employee health and improve productivity, through morning exercises, a tradition that has taken hold in Japanese culture to foster better health and fitness. 

There is a morning exercise called “Rajio Taisou” or “Radio Exercise.” The radio comes on, employees gather together, and the exercise routine begins. It can be as short as three to four minutes, but the positive effects may continue throughout the day.Rajio Taiso (ラジオ体操) or Radio Calisthenics is a common routine of exercises broadcast on NHK radio every morning from 6:30.  The first broadcast took place in 1928,  since then, this tradition of Rajio (radio in Japanese) Taiso has been incorporated into a lot of Japanese people's morning routines.

The good part about this exercise program is that it's been designed for anyone at any age to do on their own, without any equipment required. Everyone from children to the elderly can join in, and there's even versions that you can do while seated.

These are the standard 13 motions in part one:

1.    Rotate and stretch your arms
Raise your arms up from forward, stretch your back and down your arms from your side;

2.    Cross and spread your arms while bending your legs up and down 
Swing your arms and bend your knees;

3.    Rotate your arms
Swing your arms in full circles to the outside then inside;

4.    Lean backward (chest out)
Spread your legs to the left, shoulder wide, and swing your arms then stretch your chest with an inward breath;

5.    Twist your body sideways.
Bend sideways with one arm up, over head, stretch your side from the right side twice, then the left side;

6.     Bend your body back and forth
Bend forward to touch the ground 3 times and bounce with hands on your waist and backbend;

7.    Twist your body from left to right
Swing your arms and twist your body, to left then to right;

8.    Stretch your arms up and down
Hands on your shoulders with your legs spread to the left, stretch up then down;

9.    Bend your body diagonally downwards and chest out
Bend at the waist for your right toe twice then up and open your arms, stretch your chest then  down for the left;

10. Rotate your whole body
Make a circle your upper body one way, then the other way;

11. Jump with both legs
Hop on both feet up 4 times, then spread and close your legs twice;

12. Spread your arms then bend and stretch your legs
Swing your arms while doing light squats;

13. Breathe deep while stretching both arms slowly
Control your breath, take deep breaths in and out with your arms going up and  down.


When starting a new business, venture, project, or even a wedding in Japan, a ritual called Kagami Biraki is usually performed, a traditional ceremony in which barrels of sake are broken with a hammer and served on the 'masus' at a feast.

Originally this ceremony is based on the Kagami-mochi (鏡餅, literally "mirror rice cake" in Japanese), with which the Japanese decorate their altars during the New Year holidays. Kagami-mochi are round rice cakes, stacked in two layers, with ferns at the base, displayed during the New Year holidays on January 11th. People have the custom of making "Kagami-biraki", that is, breaking the mochi and eating the crushed pieces.

Whether it's a Mochi or the cap of a sake keg, both Kagami Biraki's have their strong connection to rice, the raw material of both sake and mochi, and thus have been considered sacred offerings to the gods since ancient times. The concept of receiving the power by drinking the sake after it is offered to the gods is pretty much the same as eating the pieces of mochi.

Still regarding the tradition of breaking the lid of sake kegs (called komo-daru) with a hammer at a party, it is worth noting that this comes from the fact that liquor stores used to call the top lid of a keg of sake kagami (mirror). Despite being popularly called 'kagami-biraki', the correct name for the event should be kagami-nuki (鏡抜き).

Thursday, August 25, 2022

The Tupis of Rugby

Luiz Pagano, playing rugby on the SPAC pitch - wearing the jersey of the Italian national team'19 - in rugby there is the after-match celebrations, fraternization between opposing teams that value friendships more than the final result of the game. During the game, the dispute is taken seriously, but at the end, we celebrate and toast together as lovers of the sport.

Would Abapuru, the most beautiful and expensive Brazilian work of art, be a cultural appropriation?

I already say that I don't think so – why!?  Because it is impossible to appropriate something that already is ours!!!

Recently Agostín Danza, CEO of the Brazilian Rugby Confederation, decided to change the nickname of the Brazilian Rugby Team from TUPIS to COBRAS, most likely influenced by a group of uninformed people who 'prohibited' the use of the Term Tupi for understanding that it was cultural appropriation.

Conflict Overview

Before we move on, let's understand more about it. Following a path contrary to that of the average Brazilian, I wasn't very interested in soccer, instead I was interested in Rugby (in Brazilian Portuguese, rúgbi, and in European Portuguese, râguebi), a sport inspired by Harpastum, practiced by the Romans in Antiquity. The name of the sport came from the school where it was created, the Rugby School, in Great Britain, it was the students of the school, with the help of others from Cambridge, who, between 1845 and 1848, drew up the first rules of the sport.

In Brazil, the sport appears in 1891, sort of along with football, when the Clube Brasileiro de Futebol Rugby was founded, organized by none other than Charles Miller, the "father" of Brazilian football.  

coat of arms of the Brazilian Rugby team - Os Tupis

As I grew up a lot in my adolescence (I’m almost 6’6), I found in swimming and high jump, which I practiced at SESI in Vila Leopoldina, as well in rugby, which I joined at the age of 14 at SPAC (São Paulo Athletic Club), my favorite sports.

Luiz Pagano, former SPAC rugby second row

All I know is that the love for international trade, the different countries in the world, as well as the love for Brazil, was always very present in training and games, which highly valued ethics and discipline.


Known as All Blacks, the very competent New Zealand Rugby team usually scares opponents a lot with the Haka, a typical dance of the Maori people used, among other things, as a form of intimidation in the face of a dispute. The ritual is beautiful, strong and impressive, and in a way, the sport has thrown Maori culture out into the world through the Haka. 

Brazilian rugby team faces the haka of the all blacks of new zealand with Tupi posture

The Ka Mate, or Haka, which the All Blacks have practiced for over a century, was created in 1820 by the Maori chief Te Rauparaha. As the All Blacks website dedicated to the history of this dance explains, the song celebrates life over death, it was written after Te Rauparaha managed to escape from a rival tribe. Although the dance is not intimidating, its name, Ka Mate, means “is death”.

The first time it was performed before a rugby match, was in the 19th century, formed by a team of players of Maori origin on a tour of the United Kingdom in 1888. This team, the predecessor of the All Blacks, pioneered both the use of the haka before the match and the use of the classic black uniform that popularized it in Europe, however, it was the original All Blacks team that made rugby history with their 1905 tour.
After all, what is said in the All Blacks' Haka - Ka Mate, Ka Mate! (it's death 2x), Ka Ora, ka Ora! (it's 2x life), tenei te tangata (come here), puhuru huru nana nei i tiki mai (the hairy man who seeks the sun), whakawahiti (and who again), te ra! (makes it glow), A upane!, Ka upane! Whiti ra! Hi! (one step, another step and the sun shines! Hi!)

In 2018, when facing the Brazilian Tupis, an ancestral dispute took place, respectfully performed in a beautiful spectacle, by ancient cultures from opposite sides of the world.

Pene'ĩ, Tupi (gûé)!
Go fot it, Tupis!! (Lit. 'my friends')


Drowning in work and the day-to-day routines, I ended up getting a little away from the news of the sport, but it was on November 10, 2018 that I was dazzled to see the fearsome Haka opposed to the posture of union of Brazilian indigenous people, The TUPIS.  It was magical! The love for the sport, for Brazil and our cultures had a ‘total reload’ in my heart.

Proud to see the game that received 35k spectators, (when I played, in the 80's and 90's I didn't even reach 500), the image of the New Zealander HAKA elegantly fought by our ANGAIPAVA TUPI doesn't get out of my mind.

After climbing positions in the world rankings in recent years, the Tupis will begin the 2023 Rugby World Cup Qualifiers. photo olimpiada do dia, Gilbert's official rugby ball with the Tupis coat of arms

Tupi was chosen by popular vote within the CBRu, defeating the arara (macaw) and sucuri (anaconda) by 47% of the votes in 2012, but seven years later the guys wanted to change the nickname – I immediately went to the battle, writing the following text:

“I'm a rugby player, I'm Brazilian, I'm Tupi in spirit and I'm also Tupi in blood (however small a fraction), my grandmother's surname is Correia, as is Diogo Álvares Correia, Caramuru who married Paraguaçu on the 30th of July 1524.

LUIZ PAGANO (55) wearing Rugby Golden Oldies jersey - an event in 2018 that brought six sports to one location at the same time. Christchurch, New Zealand was the venue with more than 5000 over 35's competing in six different sports - rugby, hockey, netball, golf, cricket, and lawn bowls.

I love and am proud to see Tupi ritual in rugby matches, just like the New Zealand team.

For me, our players are and will always be called 'Tupis' and our players 'Yaras', no matter how fearful sponsors change the shield on our shirts.

I love this image of our Yara (affectionate nickname of our Women's Rugby Team) receiving the affectionate Brazilian ancestral painting.

I don't need to ask permission to be Brazilian;
I don't need to ask permission to be Tupi;
I don't need to ask permission to hold the Anhangá party in Vale do Anhangabaú or drink Cauim in São Paulo - traditions that, if it weren't for my efforts, would already be dead and buried along with the ancient peoples of the Inhapuambuçu of Piratininga (I am an active revivalist of Tupi culture, even the beverage Cauim, I recreated with modern production processes).

Especially because, here in São Paulo, the Tupis, formerly called Tupiniquim (Tupinakyîa) by their belligerent Tupinambá cousins, have been mixing since João Ramalho's marriage to Potira, back in the 1500s.

Finally, I study Tupi antigo (Old Tupi language), my grandmother was born in the Inhapuambuçu Historical Triangle, in the very town of São Paulo.
beautiful player of the feminin brazilian rugby team, kindly called 'Yara', receiving war paint by a genuine brazilian indigenous lady

Love unites us regardless of our beliefs, skin color, current account balances or malicious politicians.

I respect and love the Tupi Antigo, the Caboclo Tupi from the terreiros of Afro-Brazilian rituals, the nostalgic TV Tupi, the Tupi biscuit, the modernist Tupi verses of Oswald and Tarcila do Amaral, and all the other multiple Tupis that form our Brazilian cultural unity.


I don't know if they came back for good, however I was super happy to see the players with the Tupis insignia on their chests, playing beautifully yesterday, led by the brave captain Paganini (almost my namesake) in a victorious game against Paraguay (yakarés) who played surprisingly well.

I'm sure that one day, I'd perform a Cauinage ritual (Tupi war ritual in which they drink the fermented manioc called Cauim) for my Rugbier friends to face the Maoris on an equal spiritual footing.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

CAUIM a Brazilian solution to preserve biomes enhance our cultures and create a thriving new economy

Luiz Pagano, creator of the industrial CAUIM, leaning against a century-old samaumeira on the island of Cumbu, Amazon rainforest

There is an unexplored Brazilian asset, with enormous economic potential, scalable, capable of becoming a strong agent of social change, with the power to praise Brazilian culture abroad and still promote a great strategic advantage in the preservation of Brazilian indigenous tribes and, consequently, our threatened biomes – THE CAUIM.

  It is important to say that CAUIM, a 100% fermented manioc drink, is produced in a large part of the Brazilian territory, by the more than 305 remaining ethnic groups and was probably produced by hundreds of others already extinct, millennia before the arrival of European settlers.

 Even today it is consumed as part of rituals, which differ among indigenous nations, belonging to ancient oral traditions, preserved by elders - this drink and all its cultural/religious context should in no way be reduced to an element of commerce - no that's what we're talking about here.

 I am referring to a commercially produced drink, whose salivary amylase, used in indigenous villages, was replaced by industrial processes, fruits of the work I have been doing, together with a small group of scholars, which gave rise to Cauim Tiakau.


 In Brazil, we face a harsh reality, the Amazon forest, the swamp, the cerrado, the Atlantic forest and other Brazilian biomes are in contoiuous threat, and have become the stage for national and international political disputes.

 Apart from political issues, there are several agents that corroborate this, such as prospectors, land grabbers, loggers, predatory farmers and invaders in general, who are motivated, violent agents and holders of financial resources, which allow them to afford good lawyers, lobbyists, and corrupt means to perpetuate their actions.

 Indigenous peoples, the great defenders of our forests, are naked and crudely exposed to this nightmare, they are at risk of being mercilessly decimated, in a desperate battle with almost no prospects of victory. To make matters worse, many villages opt for the oral tradition, so that these ethnic groups can disappear without even leaving a cultural record of their existence.

 You don't protect the forest or the ethnic groups, putting a dome over them, the idea is to strengthen the so-called preservation cells individually, through intellectual and monetary training.

 The external assistance provided by FUNAI, ICMBio, NGOs and other institutions is commendable, but still insufficient in the current scenario. The ideal would be to have robust and efficient preservation cells, in all social spheres, without losing its essence - Cauim perfectly fulfills this function.


 As for the raw material, the only prerequisite is cassava, a basic raw material, which is produced in an indigenous village, with cassava planted in the middle of the forest through an agroforestry system, without trees being felled, so that it is not characterized as a monoculture.

 The production can be very small, at first, always in harmony with nature, without pesticides, so that its scarcity justifies a premium price, as with drinks produced in the Champagne region;
 The basic structure of a production unit is not different from the backyard micro breweries, quite common in recent years. For the production of 100 liters of Cauim, a cooking pot, a 100-liter tank and a chiller are needed, budgeted at approximately R$60,000.00;

 Glass bottles must be very characteristic and returnable, reverse logistics may be a mandatory point in production plants.

 At first we will have a business structure in São Paulo, at first, which may expand to other regions of Brazil - however, nothing prevents the business from growing organically, in a different region, according to the dynamics and needs of the investor / ethnicities adherents to the project.

 That said, I would like you to know that the first time I had success with the saccharification and fermentation of cassava, it was on a holiday of Our Lady, with my experiences in my studio.

 After that, coincidentally, I made great advances in the project on that same date in the following years, one of them at the Pernod Ricard de Rezende unit, close to the Sanctuary of Aparecida - So I suggest as patron saint for this project Nossa Senhora de Aparecdia.

 If you are interested in making this project possible, please contact me, @luizpagano or my partners in this endeavor, Hildo Sena and Cassio Cunha.
T'ereîkokatu ('cheers' in Old Tupi).

Friday, May 13, 2022

TUPI drink with Cauim and Mead


On this World Cocktail Day, May 13th - I created a drink 100% Brazilian, which unfortunately few, if any, can drink(…for now)

-1 shot of 100% cassava Cauim;
-1 shot of Dry Mead (Tukanaira) Melvin Seco;
- Decorated with Sateré Mawé Çapó guarana powder.

- ….
I baptize this drink with the name of TUPI.


I'm sure one of these days we can all unite and toast Brazilianness with Tupi


*Cauim is a project by Luiz Pagano that aims to bring to the general public the oldest Brazilian beverage, 100% fermented manioc (a kind of cassava) called CAUIM

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