Top 4 Reasons for Leaving Japan (Notes from Under the Tatami Mats–87 … My Adventures in Japan)
In a sense, “tatemae” allows certain psychopaths to get away with murder.
As I had mentioned way back in Note from Under the Tatami Mat #1, I did not have any real reason for staying in Japan.
At the same time, my “decision” to leave the country was not exactly a well-thought-out, conscious resolution. It was more the culmination of a long tangle of events, acts, missteps, blunders, accomplishments, and experiences.
True or False?
The one possible reason for leaving was that I was fed up with dealing with the lies, dishonesty, and deception that are allowed under the Japanese concept of “honne” versus “tatemae.”
“Honne” ( 本音, literally, “true sound”) refers to one’s actual feelings or intentions. As we all know, some people, at some times, have dishonest, deceitful, and malevolent intentions. Of course, most such people try to hide such intentions, but they do not always manage to keep them concealed very well.
That’s where “tatemae” ( 建前, “façade” or “pretense”) comes in handy for Japanese people. “Tatemae” refers to the face that you show the world. It basically allows one to put up a false front, and to build one's own little Potemkin village – or huge Potemkin village. (Image source)
Pretense, Lies, Murder, Psychopathy
In a sense, it provides a method for lying boldly and effectively. Typically, those“tatemae” lies are white lies. They are probably harmless and they might even be beneficial.
Usually, they simply help to keep major problems from arising or from getting out of control. In fact, those innocent white lies often serve to oil the wheels of social functioning. Such lies can be used to avoid uncomfortable situations, as well as to prevent much of the harm that might arise in such situations. (Image source)
Which is a good thing.
But when used by certain Japanese, the white lies often become malicious, malevolent lies. By using “tatemae,” a psychopath can skillfully and successfully conceal his or her “honne” – his or her true intentions and feelings – even when those intentions result in immoral, illegal, and reprehensible behavior. In other words, it allows certain psychopaths to get away with murder.
Which is a really great thing! – but only if you're a psychopath.
Kind of Cruel
Ultimately, the concept of “tatemae” permits certain Japanese people – including any psychopaths who happen to be in your social circle – to put up a façade of sweetness and kindness, while engaging in vicious, spiteful, cruel, and evil deeds.
Not only does it give them an excuse for telling shameless lies and engaging in malicious and harmful behavior, but it also provides a socially-accepted reason for both the lying and the cruelty. And it provides immunity from any possible blowback. (Image source)
In doing so, psychopaths debase the concept of “tatemae” – unlike most Japanese, who employ “tatemae” properly, kindly, and considerately.
Psychopaths use “tatemae” for reasons far beyond its intended purpose, which is to oil the wheels of social functioning and to ease some of the inevitable pain of social interaction. Instead, those insane people obliterate any semblance of social functioning, and inflict unhealthy doses of pain and malice. Just what you’d expect from a group of psychopaths.
I’d seen that, I’d experienced that, and I’d had enough of that. So I left.
The Quick Sayonara
I looked back, but only momentarily. I winced, then I moved on.
As the saying goes, “It never ends.” So, the best response is … Never stop moving. Keep moving on, keep moving past, keep growing, and keep evolving.
Introduction to – “Notes from Under the Tatami Mats” (right-click on title) https://image.ibb.co/c6eM2J/image.png
Oblivion. Or at least blissful forgetfulness
... and NOTHING MORE
Links to my Other Series …
Introduction – "Intro to Vocab-ability" (right-click on title)
Guide – "Guide to Entries" (right-click on title)
Index– "Index" to all Chapters and Sections (right-click on title)
Lou Reed – "Anthology of Memorable Lyrics, Part 1" (right-click on title)
Lou Reed – "Anthology of Memorable Lyrics, Part 2" (right-click on title)
Images sourced from Google Images, unless otherwise indicated or unless my own.