“Honnne” and “Tatemae”

It is already very common to talk about existence of subconscious in the psychological field.

It is sometimes very different between superficial consciousness and subconscious.

In Japan, there are two words “Honne” and “Tatemae”.

“Honne” is your true opinion, idea, and straight thought. On the other hand, “Tatemae” is not true mind or thinking, usually hiding your opinion or idea.

Although it seems not good to hide your opinions, Japanese people place more importance on harmony than any other countries. We hide our true opinions to avoid to conflict with other people. We used to be afraid of “Mura Hachibu”, it means you are kicked out from the village and become a lonely wolf if you always claim your desire or thoughts directly.

It is very different from other countries especially from western countries that they appeal their opinions more straightly.

Therefore, we pretend that we don’t have any objections in the meetings or other occasions then we often follow older’s opinions or higher rank person’s one.

Nowadays, it has been changing especially among young people, still we use both “Honne” and “Tatemae”. Because if you cannot use them, you are looked like still child and not old enough to behave like an adult

Teamwork is important in Japan, not individual power or super power. We break through the problems by harmony and cooperation. That is the beneficial and strong point of Japan.

However, it is often misunderstood by foreigners.

It is often said that what Japanese are thinking is hard to understand by foreigners because we don’t insist our opinions or claim directly, rather we listen other people’s idea or opinions (also because of ess English speaking abilities)

More than a couple of decades ago, some TV commercial became so popular, it was the beer commercial in which the guy said “Man, Sapporo bear, without saying”, It means Japanese man drink Sapporo bear with no words.

That is a Japanese old style.