In English, it is called a “white lie”: the not-quite-true fabrication, or shading of the truth, that is designed to soften what would otherwise be a. Why don’t Japanese people always say what they mean – Honne and Tatemae. It is sometimes said that the Japanese are not frank, that they are hypocrites or. Abstract. This thesis is an anthropological investigation of one of the double codes in Japanese society; honne meaning the real self or true feelings and tatemae.

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The Honesty and Facade of Honne and Tatemae

Delve deeper, and we see that consideration and respect for others may not be the actual underlying motive; there is more than meets the eye. It really depends on the situation when its being used but as a foreigner sometimes its hard to figure out if its tatemae or not.

Retrieved from ” https: It would be extremely difficult to counter this until the best liar wins. January 2, at 6: It is, arguably, a universal human solution to a universal human problem.

Having lived in America for some time now I can see how the concept of Honne and Tatemae is odd to foreigners. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations.

My mother and their moms got to know each other, and they would invite us to their house. But in my own experience, I think tatemae can be both good and extremely bad depending on the situation. This is very much in line with the uniform collective Japanese social mindset that clamps down on sore thumbs.

Hence my ban on it. Japan is a very small collective society. October 6, at 1: This was actually quite a cultural shock to me when I first moved to America. Some people view it as being two-faced or hypocritical but in Japan it is something that is used daily and is not viewed in a negative way.

The earnestness of the Japanese in respecting the other party goes to the extreme, in that anything should be done to avoid even the slightest possibility of offending or embarrassing someone, even if it means being dishonest. The same concept in Chinese culture is called inside face and outside face, and they also frequently come into conflict. The self in Iranian culture is thought of as having two separate and distinct levels: On the contrary, they pride themselves upon it and artful lying is recognized as a prized skill.


I totally agree with having balance of honne and tatamae behaviours. Contemporary phenomena such as hikikomori and parasite singles are seen as examples of late Japanese culture’s growing problem of the new generation growing up unable to deal with the complexities of honne—tatemae [ citation needed ] and pressure of an increasingly consumerist society.

All of the ways of honest communications examples you used are extremely offensive. So basically in Japane if talk to people who are not immediate family or friends you have to lielie ,lie and lie. Foreigners may be forgiven for finding it difficult to determine whether a Japanese is being kind or simply lying. But herein sits the catch, the Japanese are ranked 4th in the world for lying, and are not in denial nor ashamed about it at all.

Honne may be contrary to what is expected by society or what is required according to one’s position and circumstances, and they are often kept hidden, except with one’s closest friends.

The Honesty and Facade of Honne and Tatemae

Close-knit co-operation and the avoidance of conflict are considered to be of vital importance in everyday life. Actually it is considered proper social etiquette to be able to gonne Honne and Tatemae to keep the harmony of the situation. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed.

I find the higher up the education, social stratification ladder in the US, the more likely one is to encounter similar behavior. The truth is every culture has some aspect of Honne and Tatemae.

In particular, there is likely to a lot of this dichotomy between the true situation and what is acknowledged verbally particularly in those cultures that we interculturalists would view as having an indirect honnf conflict averse communication style including not only Japan but areas such as Latin America, the Middle East, China and Southeast Asia.


They called it being polite and social.

As any gaijin can tell you, that could take a lifetime to figure out. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

Indeed, it can color the very way that people view the Japanese, and for that reason frankly I think it’s quite dangerous. This article originally appeared in Global Tatemaae magazine. When a friend of tatemxe invited me to her house for Thanksgiving I emailed her to ask if they were really expecting me to show up.

This article needs additional citations for verification. A little while ago, I once had to break my own rule because a seminar tatemaae who had read about it in a book asked me about honne and tatemae. You need to learn to have a thicker skin and improve on your communication skills, this may help you with securing affections of someone you are interested in. Yumi Nakata Japan born, US educated, language teacher. Nobody wants to have a different opinion nor stand out, and hence under the pretense of social decorum, stay protected behind tatemae.

November 24, at In addition to the examples I gave above, honne could be referred to as “the actual situation” or “the story behind the story” or “the unvarnished version” and tatemae could be referred to “the line for public consumption”, “a white lie” or “a euphemism. There are various theories, but I think that Japanese people do this to avoid conflict.

A power struggle ensues, which bystanders who just skim the surface may not be aware of. You are actually helping them.

Since everyone knows that everyone is not completely honest with and about their feelings, and they are so upfront about it, are they actually being genuine? Japanese girls are the worst. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.