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Truth and The Mask - part 5

Hello people! GTY_Ponzorz here. This is the final part of the blog post series about Honne/Tatemae. Thank you for sticking with me all the way and reading up to the 5th blog post. This post is just me prattling on about why it might be important to understand the whole honne/tatemae thing and to know a bit about social issues in Japan. Here we go.

Last few words from me

I apologise if this entire thing has been incredibly long and boring. If you read up to here anyway, you have my deepest gratitude, and I really hope you at least learnt something or had a laugh. :9

To reiterate though, I cannot stress how prevalent, important, and serious the whole concept of Honne/Tatemae is in Japan. It’s as important as Ichigo getting his next power up and a new costume to go with it, and almost as important as having nice pristine weekly manga scans. :9

As a second point though, again, it is not to say that such a concept of preserving honor and what not exists solely in Japanese society. We are largely all the same human beings on this planet (some differences aside :9 ), and value a lot of the same things - love, loyalty, bravery, courage, friendship - and are faced with the similar conflicts and issues in our respective societies. I am discussing honne/tatemae with you though, because it really is a big deal in Japan. Everything I have written is definitely not the only way to go about understanding this topic, and it definitely may not even be the most correct in the eyes of many - it is perfectly fine and normal if you have differing views, or feel that I have over-analysed some parts.

It might sound strange, and even asinine - to explicitly discuss and read about this aspect of Japanese society, but it’s something you’re better off being aware of if you have an interest in Japanese culture because it really is a thing that legitimately exists.

There are many other social issues / deep cultural traditions and concepts that exist in Japan - and for those who are interested, it is highly enlightening to read more in to it and gain a better understanding about the nation that so many of you respect and appreciate for their manga/anime.

Funnily enough, Japan is not actually a perfect utopia full of sexy ninja, swashbuckling (stretchy) pirates and full-time shinigami (I don’t think most people can have such a vocation there) who run off to summer festivals every two episodes, watch some fireworks and then assemble the seven dragon balls to summon Shenron to grant them their heart’s deepest desires.

While the biggest problem some of us may have in regards to Japan may be “OMG why is it Golden Week, where is the next issue of WSJ??” The people living there actually have plenty of unique social issues quite irrelevant to a late manga chapter - just to list a few for starters:

They have an aging society, their birth rate is lower than Yasutora Chad when he’s lying on the ground, and they have heaps of problems with how underpaid and how bad the welfare is for their temporary workers, some sexism, the marginalisation and lack of government support for the Japanenese diaspora that return to Japan from South America (Bolivia and such), a bit of racism in the monocultural society, their nuclear problem, Abenomics... complications of honne/tatemae … oh have I said Abenomics yet? The list can go on for a little bit longer I daresay.

: ) Of course, every country has their own set of issues, right? But knowing about these issues might help you understand and appreciate the aspects of Japanese culture we all enjoy - Sakura flowers, gari gari ice-cream, weekly WSJ - that little bit more.

Thanks again for reading, hope it was still somewhat more interesting than your homework. ; )


Sources: Btw. don't reference/quote what I wrote up there in an academic essay pls. I wrote it for fun , it's not really a stellar example of writing and to use it academically in any sense is about as advisable as slapping Kenpachi in the face with a floppy gigai.


Honne and Tatemae: Exploring the Two Sides of Japanese Society


Gaijinpot Blog

[Tofugu] KY and Ambuguity in Japan

Extra reading:

[Japantimes] The costly fallout of tatemae and Japan's culture of deceit

[The Economist] Big business in Japan publicly supports Abenomics while being privately wary