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Shotoku Taishi lacked Slack

May 12th 2019

I've been living in Japan for almost 5 years now. But, whenever my friends and family back home ask me about Japanese history, I still can't answer most of their questions. So this year I took upon myself to read more about Japan's past.

I'm going through stuff chronologically. And very early in my readings, I came across Shotoku Taishi (Prince Shotoku). He was heir to the throne and was supposed to succeed Empress Suiko. Now the story of why he was nominated as heir is a very interesting one. But this post is not about that. What interests me more is that what the legends say about his abilities. According to Nihon Shoki he had abilities such as,

Because of these unbelievable qualities, it is hard for me to believe if he really ever existed. But the second quality of resolving 10 people's concern at the same time seems really interesting to me. In the prince's time (5XX ADs), it was obviously impossible. How would 10 people speak to him at the same time? I mean 10 people speaking at the same time without getting bothered by other 9 people is impossible. So it had to be sequential. So the nearest he could have got to "same time" is listening to them one by one and then resolving their concerns one by one. But what if some of them had follow up questions, then they would again speak to him one by one and the process goes on as before.

I was wondering if he existed today, could he achieve the second quality? Because I do something similar almost every day. At work we use Slack. Since I work as a server/backend engineer, I get asked a lot of questions from mobile app developers, QA and customer support all the time. Since I'm trying out Pomodoro technique, I try to answer their queries in the Pomodoro breaks. And that is more near to "same time" than what Prince Shotoku had possibly done. I look at one person's question, answer it, then move on to other person's question. Meanwhile the person whose question I just answered can ask me follow up question, and I can get back to it immediately after answering current question.

So you see if Prince Shotoku has existed today, he nearly could had achieved the second quality mentioned above.