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9.5.2 Hierarchy Strategy

The hierarchy strategy is the strategy that religious organizations clearly define ranks of religious specialists and ordinary believers according to the stages of religious education and training.

The strategy can be divided into two substrategies. One is to establish training systems of religious specialists. The other is to establish training systems and religious ranks of ordinary believers. The former strategy insists that if people haven't received their education from specific ministries or similar institutions established by religious organizations, then they cannot obtain the necessary knowledge or techniques. The latter strategy is that the secret is partially and gradually revealed to rank-and-file believers according to the stages of religious training. A training system through which it is possible to acquire religious and spiritual power can be an important motivation for believers. The strategy contributes to the solution of the inflation of religious power mentioned earlier.

We can find out the hierarchy strategy outside of religious organizations. A typical example is the iemoto system. The system is the Japanese traditional cultural teaching system, which was firmly established by the eighteenth century (Nishiyama 1959). It has been adopted in teaching of traditional arts such as sado (tea ceremony) and ikebana (flower arrangement). The system is a hierarchical structure of teachers and students organized under the supreme authority of the iemoto, which refers to the heads of art organizations. The iemoto system is based upon the idea that a single family is the only authority for certain artistic forms and has traditionally administered education and transmission of arts. In the system, various certificates are prescribed at the levels of skills and techniques. Only iemoto can certify students and issue certificates as authorized instructors who can teach lower-level students. Through the system, the iemoto has transmitted various arts in Japan.

I cannot go into details here, but it can be said that the system of apprenticeship (Coy 1989; Fukushima 1995; Singleton 1998) is closely related to the hierarchy strategy. In Japan, even high-tech companies often rely upon craftsmanship (e.g., polishing and molding in the metal work). It may be because many high-tech companies in Japan are derived from traditional handicraft industries, in which technologies and techniques have been accumulated. The accumulated skills of craftsman cannot easily be standardized and simulated by computer. In consequence, the transmission of the skills has no choice but to be esoteric, or like apprenticeship, though, facing up to the aging of skilled labor, companies have been promoted to transmit smoothly the accumulated skills to the next generation.

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