Bhutan: A Happy Country | STUDY POINT~高校授業編~

Bhutan: A Happy Country


Bhutan: A Happy Country

(Part 1)
What do you value in your life? What do you think makes you happy? Is it
money, fame and success in your job, or close friends and family? Everyone will
have his or her own answers, and no answer is right or wrong. In March 2011,
Japan was hit by an unprecedented disaster, the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Some say that after the earthquake, many came to realize that close friends and
family are more important than money and fame. We may not know what is really
important until we come face to face with disaster.
In November 2011, a young king visited Japan with his beautiful queen. His
name is Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and he is the king of the small Asian
country of Bhutan. The royal couple visited the devastated areas in Tohoku and
offered their encouragement to the people, especially children. Their warm smiles
reminded many Japanese of happiness, a notion that had been almost forgotten
after the earthquake.

(Part 2)
Bhutan is a small country located between China and India and surrounded by
the Himalayas. Having no traffic lights even in its capital city Thimphu, it is a
quiet country far from crowds and traffic jams. Approximately 750,000 people live
in the country, which is the size of Japan’s Kyushu Island. Most of Bhutan’s
population believe in Buddhism, and many wear traditional clothing called “gho”
for men and “kira” for women.
For a long time, Bhutan had a policy of isolation just like Japan did in the Edo
period. In 1974 Bhutan stopped this policy and began participating in
international society. Television and the Internet were introduced in 1999, but it
was not until 2003 that people could use cellphones. However, the country is also
quite advanced in some aspects. For example, Bhutan has adopted English as one
of its official languages, and it also became the first nonsmoking country in the
world in 2004.
Bhutan’s GNI (Gross National Income) per person was 2,330 US dollars in 2013,
one twentieth of Japan’s. Bhutan is certainly not an economically wealthy country,
but many citizens say that they are happy.

(Part 3)
It is the concept of GNH (Gross National Happiness) that makes a lot of
Bhutanese feel happy. The idea of GNH began in 1976, when King Jigme Singye,
predecessor of the present king, mentioned at an international conference that GNH
is more important than GNI. He was saying that what makes people happy is
spiritual richness, not material wealth.
After the Meiji Restoration, Japan quickly aimed at becoming an economic giant,
but Bhutan took a different route. Before abandoning its policy of isolation to join
the international community, Bhutan studied the experience and models of
advanced countries. As a result, the country reached the conclusion that economic
development does not necessarily lead to happiness. It can lead to the North-South
divide, as well as poverty, environmental destruction, and the loss of culture. Thus,
Bhutan decided to avoid developing its economy blindly. It intended to modernize
its society slowly while preserving the natural environment and traditional culture
to increase spiritual richness. In its constitution, Bhutan declares that the country
will make an effort to pursue GNH.

(Part 4)
The Bhutanese government has carried out its GNH-based policy, which has four
pillars as follows.
1. Promotion of sustainable development: the country intends to modernize its
agricultural industry, in which 80% of the Bhutanese people are engaged.
2. Conservation of the natural environment: the constitution requires the nation
to conserve forest areas in more than 60% of the country. Bhutan’s electricity
supply comes from water-power generation, which is environmentally friendly.
3. Preservation and promotion of cultural values: people are required to wear
traditional clothing at official occasions, and all buildings need to respect traditional
architecture. In school, children are taught the value of traditional culture.
4. Establishment of good governance: the king and politicians work for the
benefit of the people. Bhutanese people can speak to their king directly. Medical
and educational services are provided for free in the country.
Under such policies, the Bhutanese find their happiness through living with
respect for nature and their traditional culture.

(Part 5)
Dr. Terue Ohashi, a Japanese sociologist, explained the Bhutanese view of
happiness like this: “Buddhist beliefs are widely followed and the bonds with others
at home and work are very strong. People help each other when in trouble.
Bhutanese find happiness in such interaction.” In fact, the Bhutanese put a very
high value on spending time with their family. Family time is valued over work
time. Bhutanese people believe that their happiest moments are experienced when
they are with their family.
Since Bhutan began modernizing its society, issues such as population inflow to
the cities and unemployment have arisen. Influenced by TV and the Internet,
young people have started to absorb themselves in foreign dance and music and
have begun wearing jeans and miniskirts. However, the essence of Bhutanese
society has not changed much. Young people still believe that bonds with close
friends and family are the most important connections in their lives. We cannot
help hoping that this happy country will hold on to its virtues in the following
centuries and give light to other countries.

Lesson 10 ブータン:幸福な国
Part 1
ありません。2011 年 3 月,日本は東日本大震災という未曾有の災害に襲われました。
2011 年 11 月,1 人の若い国王が美しい王妃を伴って日本を訪れました。彼の名は

Part 2
都ティンプーにさえ信号機は 1 台もなく,人込みや交通渋滞とはかけ離れた静かな国
です。およそ 75 万人がその国で生活していますが,そこは日本の九州ほどの大きさ
いました。1974 年,ブータンはこの政策を取りやめ,国際社会に参加し始めました。
テレビとインターネットは 1999 年に導入されましたが,人々が携帯電話を使うこと
ができたのは 2003 年になってからでした。しかしながら,その国はいくつかの面で
かなり先進的でもあります。たとえば,ブータンは公用語の 1 つとして英語を採用し
ており,2004 年には世界で最初の禁煙国家にもなりました。
ブータンの 1 人あたりの GNI(国民総所得)は 2013 年に 2,330 アメリカドルでし
たが,それは日本の 20 分の 1 でした。ブータンは確かに経済的に裕福な国ではあり

Part 3
多くのブータン人に幸福だと感じさせているのは GNH(国民総幸福量)という考
え方です。GNH の考えは 1976 年に始まりましたが,その年に現国王の先代にあた
るジグメ・シンゲ国王が,GNH は GNI よりも大切だと国際会議で述べたのです。彼
した。その憲法において,ブータンは国家が GNH を追求する努力をすると宣言して

Part 4
ブータン政府は GNH に基づく政策を実行していますが,それには以下のとおり 4
1. 持続可能な発展の促進:当国は農産業を近代化することを意図する。それにはブ
ータン国民の 80 パーセントが従事している。
2. 自然環境の保護:憲法は国土の 60 パーセント以上において森林地域を保護するよ
3. 文化的価値の保存と促進:人々は公式行事で伝統衣装を着用するよう求められ,
4. 優れた統治の確立:国王と政治家は国民の利益のために働く。ブータン国民は国

Part 5