“Gung Ho” is a story of a Japanese company, Assan Motors, which comes to a small town, Hadleyville, to reopen a car factory. The story shows us that the Japanese and Americans have very different styles of operating a company, based in large measures on differences in cultural values. Hunt Stevenson is the employee liaison working for Kazihiro the executive manager of the factory. Throughout the movie, Hunt and Kazihiro clash because of their cultural values. Hunt, an American, is an individualist and Kazihiro, a collectivist.
Individualism is a political philosophy that suggests individuals should have freedom over their economic and political pursuits. Collectivism is a system that stresses the primacy of collective goals over individual goals. Towards the end, Hunt and Kazihiro put aside each other’s differences and decided to work together to accomplish their goals. The first day the factory opened, Kazihiro addresses the American workers, “We must build spirit. We must be a team, one, with one purpose only. Everyone thinking only of the company. He hopes to build this spirit by having them do calisthenics. The Americans thought this was a joke and did not participate. When Hunt joined in, they decided to do them but in their own way. This was the first part where individualism and collectivism clashes. Another example is when Soito, one of the managers, tries to show Buster a different way to paint a car. Buster resists and says, “Why can’t we just do what we know to do? ” Soito’s response was, “Every man learns every job, then we are a team.
No man is special. ” Collectivists focuses on the accomplishments of the group rather than an individuals. This episode illustrates differences in valuing the one versus the many and the part versus the whole. Progressing through the movie, Hunt and Kazihiro gets into a fight which resulted in the American workers leaving the factory. Kazihiro and Hunt losing their careers and Assan Motors pulling out of the town. You also see Kazihiro start to accept the American ways of living and decided to stand up to his boss.
Ito’s, one of Kazihiro’s workers and friend, wife was in labor and would to leave work to attend. Kazihiro asks his boss for permission for him to leave. Mr. Sakamoto then asks Ito if he would like to leave, Ito denies for the sake of the company. Kazihiro in rage replies, “This is Looney Toons”, Saito says, “Why are you talking American? ” Kazihiro replies, “Because I have American Idea, we work to damn hard, this is not our lives this is a factory, our friends and families should be our lives. In this episode you see Kazihiro finally accepting how the American’s work. Not only did Kazihiro change but Hunt did as well. In the beginning of the movie, Hunt traveled to Japan to persuade Assan Motors to come to Hadleyville and reopen the factory allowing jobs to reopen. During a union meeting, Hunt tells a basketball story about the team hero who saved the team. Hunt being the hero. The story tells the audience that he will be the towns hero feeding his ego and individuality.
His girlfriend, Audrey, tries to persuade him that the town needs a more collectivist approach: “They don’t need some guy who’s trying to make the winning play all by himself. ” Hunt eventually recognizes what he is doing and apologizes to everyone at the festival: “I put myself in front of the town and I’m really sorry. ”Hunt and Kazihiro decides to reconcile and decide to finish the job of 15000 cars. The two members learn to respect their differences by collaborating rather than competing, they were successful.