The Honesty and Facade of Honne and Tatemae What they say and what they mean are not always the same. Japanese people face a lot of criticism for the use of Honne and Tatemae. 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. Actually it is considered proper social etiquette to be able to use Honne and Tatemae to keep the harmony of the situation.

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Honne could be defined as the true desires, opinions and thoughts of each individual; while Tatemae refers to how the social obligations and the opinions of each individual adapt to the society in general. What is expressed in the words of the individual is the Tatemae and what he really thinks is the Honne. However, in Japan it is something that is used in daily life and not in a negative sense, on the contrary, it considered a virtue to be able to express the Tatemae and the Honne in the proper situations.

From a Western point of view, to conceal the truth is usually not well seen. However in Japan it is very important to maintain harmony, thus most of the time the true feelings and thoughts Honne are usually not expressed in a direct way in order to not hurt the feelings of others.

We could say that the Tatemae is used as a lubricant in the relations between people. It is also frequently used in companies and the corporate world in general , where established protocols have to be strictly followed.

Another example would be when buying a ticket for some show and they are sold out. Honne is usually displayed outside the working world; for example it exists in the events known as nomikai, where work colleagues gather to chat, eat and drink in an ikazaya traditional Japanese bar. On those occasions you are supposed to show your Honne, talk about your work problems, family problems, etc; so that your colleagues can help you and give their advice. Nomikai are also the moment to complain about your boss or about the asshole of some other department.

The atmosphere was very formal and tense until he drunk a couple of beers and started to tell me how he got divorced the last weekend, as if I had been a close friend all his life!!


Honne and Tatemae

People lining up to take the bus Preparing a meal with workshops Mari in Tokyo. What are honne and tatemae? The first kanji character of the word can have a meaning of "authentic", while the second means "sound". Clearly, honne is the "real voice" of an individual. It could be translated as the "public facade". Why this duality? In Japan, the group and, by extension, society, take precedence over the individual.


The Honesty and Facade of Honne and Tatemae

Tatemae is the word to express what that they think would benefit the situation, and would let them avoid any sort of confrontational interaction. What was the conclusion? Am I supposed to do this or that? Do they want me to leave or to stay?

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The Japanese Art of Indirectness: Honne and Tatemae

Causes[ edit ] In Japanese culture, public failure and the disapproval of others are seen as particular sources of shame [3] and reduced social standing, [4] [5] [6] so it is common to avoid direct confrontation or disagreement in most social contexts. The conflict between honne and giri social obligations is one of the main topics of Japanese drama throughout the ages. Although there might not be direct single word translations for honne and tatemae in some languages,[ citation needed ] they do have two-word descriptions; for example in English "private mind" and "public mind". Some researchers[ who? In any case, all cultures have conventions that help to determine appropriate communication and behavior in various social contexts which are implicitly understood without an explicit name for the social mores on which the conventions are based.



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