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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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.

The Japanese Art of Indirectness: Honne and Tatemae

Hence my ban on it. At the center of all the deceit, not surprisingly, is the need for self-preservation and — benefit.

Such is the complicated mental chess that many Japanese social and work interactions require. Indeed, it can color the very way that people view the Japanese, and for that reason frankly I think it’s quite dangerous.

October 20, at This is not a typical Japanese attitude, and in order to fit in, the Japanese may say what is required to appear a part of the group, while simultaneously believing, or knowing, themselves to be thinking quite the ttemae.

And it is indeed true that considering honne and tatemae can indeed be very helpful in understanding certain situations involving Japanese.

The Japanese Art of Indirectness: Honne and Tatemae | Japan Info

Because the needs of each group of participants are different, I don’t give our firm’s facilitators many hard-and-fast rules about what to say in the seminars although of course we have standard materials and training techniques honnr everybody learns about.


Good article, I mostly agree with it. A similar discord of Japanese true own feeling and the pretension before public is observed in yase- gaman term[11] the hoonne literally means even starving to skeleton,being content or pretending to be so.

I look back at it now and cringe. June 25, at 6: I totally agree with having balance of honne and tatamae behaviours. So you know that Japanese have these concepts of honne and tatemaethen what do you honbe with that?

We are careful as to the amount of information we share so as to not offend or hurt the people around us.

Honne and Tatemae

So in some cases, tatemae is a way of maintaining the modesty that the Japanese value more highly than many Western cultures. For those who are not familiar with Japanese culture you may think this behavior is very rude, but Japanese people are not acting this way out of malice.

July 2, at 6: Tatemae is the word to express what that they think would benefit the situation, and would let them avoid any sort of confrontational interaction. 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. June 12, at 1: Retrieved from ” https: Sometimes these intentions are sincere and follow ups do happen, but they usually end up being forgotten or simply not cared for.


Japanese people face a lot of criticism for the use of Honne and Tatemae. The honne—tatemae divide is considered by some to be of paramount importance in Japanese culture. The idea of conveying a “cover story” that is different from the true situation is something very familiar and common in the U.

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”. However, the key thing for me is that honne and tatemae are hardly unique to Japanese culture.

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? And although Japanese like other indirect communication cultures do tend to sugarcoat negative information, it’s not as if Japan is uniquely a country of inveterate liars.

Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.

The Honesty and Facade of Honne and Tatemae

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. Some researchers [ who?

The public use of this dyadic concept began in the post-war era. It would be extremely difficult to counter this until the best liar wins.