Japanese Cultural Values World Studies
Background • While American and Japanese culture may have many similarities, there are some key differences. • Japanese culture has been described as: isolated, serious, honorable, cold. • A reason for this is a difference in philosophy between American and Japanese cultures. • We must also understand that just as many Americans do not follow tradition, many Japanese rebel as well.
Origin of Japanese Values • Shinto (religion, native to Japan) • Connection to spirits/ nature • Buddhism (religion, from China) • Enlightenment, meditation, good deeds • Zen Buddhism • Meditation, self-control, discipline= salvation • Confucianism (philosophy) • Superior must set example for inferior • Family/ society is above individual • Loyalty, courtesy, hard-work, service
Shame Society in Japan • A shame society is one in which the primary device for gaining control over children and maintaining control over adults is the inculcation of shame and the complementary threat of rejection. • Shame is • A reaction to other people's criticism, therefore it is brought on my others. • Our failure to live up to our obligations and the expectations others have of us. • In true shame oriented cultures, every person has a place and a duty in the society. • One maintains self-respect, not by choosing what is good rather than what is evil, but by choosing what is expected of one.
Guilt Society in the U.S. • A guilt society is one in which the primary method of social control is the inculcation of feelings of guilt for behaviors that the society defines as undesirable. • Guilt is a feeling that arises when we violate the absolute standards of morality within us, when we violate our conscience. • A person may suffer from guilt although no one else knows of his or her misdeed; this feeling of guilt is relieved by confessing the misdeed and making restitution. • True guilt cultures rely on an internalized conviction of sin as the enforcer of good behavior, not, as shame cultures do, on external sanctions.
The Big Idea? • Japanese people really really care what others think about them and have a sense of responsibility to the feelings of others. • Conflict is external, not internal
Internal vs. External Behavior Honne Tatemae Literally "facade," is the behavior and opinions one displays in public. Tatemae is what is expected by society and required according to one's position and circumstances, and these may or may not match one's honne. • Refers to a person's true feelings and desires. • These may be contrary to what is expected by society and they are often kept hidden, except with one's closest friends.
Japanese Art • Art is a direct reflection of the society in which it is produced. • Japanese art tends to be heavily centered around nature
Poetry (Haiku) • 古池や 蛙飛込む 水の音 • furuikeyakawazutobikomumizu no oto • fu-ru-i-ke ya (5) ka-wa-zu to-bi-ko-mu (7) mi-zu no o-to (5) • old pond . . . • a frog leaps in • water’s sound