THE KATA FACTOR! Japan’s Secret Weapon!


THE KATA FACTOR – The Loss of Japan’s Secret Weapon / The Rise & Fall of a Superior People, by Boyè Lafayette De Mente. Phoenix Books / Publishers, 198 pages. Printed edition $14.95; Kindle ebook edition $6.95. Available from

Japan’s traditional culture was a mixture of the native religion [Shintoh, The Way of the Gods] combined with technology and skills that had originated in ancient China for producing arts and crafts, become institutionalized and ritualized, and passed on from one generation to the next..

From around 400 A.D. immigrants from China and Korea began to introduce this technology and skills to the Japanese, who like the Chinese institutionalized and ritualized them and made them hereditary.

The Japanese, like the Chinese, referred to these skills as kata [ka-tah] or “form,” and shikata [she-kah-tah]. “way of doing things.”

Each new generation of Japanese artists and craftsmen were compelled by the ancient Chinese concept of kaizen [kie-zen] or “continuous improvement” to outdo their masters, resulting in them getting closer and closer to perfection in their arts and crafts.

During the long Shogunate period of rule in Japan [1200 A.D. to 1868 A.D.] Japanese artists and craftsmen did in fact achieve virtual perfection

Kata and shikata became the Rosetta stones of Japan’s culture – the key that unlocked both the mystery and the mystique associated with how the Japanese did business and conducted their personal and professional affairs.

Expressed another way, kata and shikata were the cultural molds that created and controlled the behavior of the Japanese and were the source of both their strengths and weaknesses.

Although both the kata and shikata have dramatically weakened in present-day Japan they continue to influence the behavior of the older generations.

First Pages of Introduction:



By any standard, the Japanese were a superior people until the 1980’s and 90’s. Their almost unbelievable success in turning a small chain of resource poor islands into one of the greatest economic powers the world has ever seen in less than three decades was proof of that. The fact that the “Miracle of Japan” would not have happened without significant contributions from the United States and Western Europe, along with a variety of other external factors, certainly tempers but does not negate the accomplishments of the Japanese.

Japan’s early history was, in fact, a continuing record of extraordinary accomplishments, beginning with its transformation from a feudalistic kingdom of sword-carrying warriors, shopkeepers and peasants in 1868 to a world-class military power by 1895. The special character and ability of the Japanese was recognized by more astute Western visitors even before Japan’s feudal age ended. American ship captain Henry Holmes, who made a number of trips to Japan prior to its opening to the West, noted in his journal, “They (the Japanese) will surprise the world!”

And surprise the world they have—in ways that have ranged from marvelous to shocking.

This book is available in print and digital versions from


Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia and Mexico since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the plague of male dominance and the moral failings of the U.S. and the Western world in general.

Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; THE MEXICAN MIND—Understand and Appreciating Mexican Culture; and SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way!

All of his titles are available from

Published in: on September 12, 2014 at 8:01 pm  Leave a Comment