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The shame culture in Japan

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  • The shame culture in Japan

    Does the culture of shame in Japan affect the way japanese see relationships? This concept is kind of confusing to me. I sem to read that shame is an external force (people's perception), and guilt is internal (your consience). If Japanese mostly make descions based on shame then that means that they will be more likely to do something if they don't think they will get caught.
    Is this right? Westerners supposedly have a cultue of guilt (b/c of christianity?)

    I bring this all up b/c my wife has said you can get a g/f, just don't let me find out about it. To me this is crazy. I wonder if she thinks I should recipricate the offer? I should have never married a foreigner, let alone japanese.

    If what I read is true, they lack a moral compass, b/c as long as they don't get caught there is nothing to ashamed of. That is supposedly why japan does not like to talk about WW2. If no one talks about there is no shame.

  • #2
    Re: The shame culture in Japan

    Well it is an interesting point you brought up. My wife also has said that if I think I need a lover I should ask her (I really do not understand that one, it is almost like she will have suggestions) There is a different view towards marriage here I think.

    Perhaps women expect men to have lovers but as long as it does not cause any problems it is easy to ignore? Just like the human trafficing for the sex industry in Japan?

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    • #3
      Re: The shame culture in Japan

      The "If you have another GF and I don`t know about it, then its ok" idea is pretty common, at least in my experience here......and pretty frustrating for me as well.

      Does that mean they think its okay to have a guy on the side? My GF says "no", but.......

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      • #4
        Re: The shame culture in Japan

        That Guilt/Shame dichotomy is based on Ruth Benedict's analysis in The Chrysanthemum and the Sword. As an explanatory device, it has been theorretically (but not historically) discredited as overly simplistic.

        As for the "I don't mind, really I don't" thing:

        BE VERY AFRAID. VERY VERY AFRAID.

        If you decide to take her up on the offer, keep the kitchen knives under lock and key. And frypans can be quite lethal, too.

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        • #5
          Re: The shame culture in Japan

          There was a post on here a few months ago where the cuckolded wife was able to go after the girlfriend and the wayward spouse for damages and sue them for breaking up her marriage. Expect to settle for about 2 million yen as well as a divorce.

          If you have kids dont expect to see them grow up any time soon, or hold onto your visa. Foreigners have no rights here when it comes to custody and visitation privileges.

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          • #6
            Re: The shame culture in Japan

            I see quite a few who stop and go on a red light. Not just motorcycles, but also cars. I don't understand why anyone would think it's ok to do something illegal. Traffic laws have no bearing on morals. As for morals, everyone seems to have different standards. I think Japanese women would rather you had your love affair as long as you don't leave them. It's difficult to find a new husband for them and they can't earn as much money, so I think they'd really rather have you (or your money) around. If you've got kids, they want their kids to have their father around too. If you're not making any money then they'll just divorce you. That way they can qualify for government welfare or something like that.

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            • #7
              Re: The shame culture in Japan

              Please connect the dots on the first part, and its relationship to the last part.

              Confusedly yours

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              • #8
                Re: The shame culture in Japan

                "If what I read is true, they lack a moral compass, b/c as long as they don't get caught there is nothing to ashamed of. That is supposedly why japan does not like to talk about WW2. If no one talks about there is no shame."

                The ONLY reason the Japanese are ashamed of WWII is because they got their ass kicked. The devastation they brought to Asia, the countries they looted, the women they took from Korea and other countires as "comfort woman" and the attroticies committed against POW's have nothing to do with that shame.

                My point? The whole concept of "morals" here is different. She'll cheat on you, if she hasn't already. I have many Gaijin friends who get a lot of action from housewives. Cheat because she is. Just DON"T get caught.

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                • #9
                  Re: The shame culture in Japan

                  Please don't confuse the Japanese governement with the Japanese public. Due to the threat of communism, the Americans brought back the very people who perpetuated the war in the Pacific into government. That party has lived on today as the LDP, though the DPJ isn't much better.

                  Read "Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of WWII" by John Dower if you want to learn about Japan and the postwar.

                  It seems to me that Japanese are TOO willing (if that's a bad thing) to take responsibility for their actions, while Americans are always pointing the blame at someone else. Don't get caught here, but if you do, fess up and face the consequences.

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                  • #10
                    Re: The shame culture in Japan

                    TX,

                    First I doubt my wife is cheating on me. Second, if she was.... Doing the same would put me on her level. We have a kid, I'm not going to let my son grow up in a warped family like that.

                    Frungy,

                    I agree completely with you about the communists. I had an argument with my brother in law over the US military and I brought up that very point. He seemed to not know what I was talking about, I guess I've met some other kind of japanese people than you because it always seems that it is never their fault.

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                    • #11
                      Re: The shame culture in Japan

                      laterthanyou"

                      "First I doubt my wife is cheating on me. Second, if she was.... Doing the same would put me on her level. We have a kid, I'm not going to let my son grow up in a warped family like that."

                      I admire your values. However, being honest about our biological heritage - in the sense that humans are NOT considered monogamous from a biological standpoint - does not make a family warped. I'm all for monogamous relationships. I'm all for taking wedding vows seriously. But, you can't be all things to all people - or even one person - and that's what marriage is all about, as we westerners think.

                      Maybe, if this is her philosopy - that she and you are both human and, as such, have needs and desires that are not "supposed to be" admitted, then maybe she is doing the very thing that is going to make your marriage work over the long run.

                      "I should have never married a foreigner, let alone japanese."

                      I think you are having more problems than just this, if you are wishing you had not married her in the first place.

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                      • #12
                        Re: The shame culture in Japan

                        Frungy,
                        Good.
                        TX,
                        Too extreme, but ya pulled it out on that last one. As for humans being not monagomous from a biological standpoint, too much biological determinism there for my liking. Humans are simultaneously and inextricably biological and cultural organisms. Human monogamy-polygamy is not adequately analysed from a biological or bio-culturalist point of view.

                        Anyhoo, what TX said about laterthanyou and his wife was right on. Sit the lady down and have a chat with her. It can't hurt (he said hopefully). Either way, No shame in trying (tee hee??)

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                        • #13
                          Re: The shame culture in Japan

                          I dont think any of us Westerners can ever get into the minds of, or every try to fully understand the Japanese or their culture.
                          Call me old fashioned, (but I'm not) I really really don't think J-girls are marraige material for us European or American guys, just too much of a culture contrast that can never be changed by either side and then there is the whole religion thing. We still have morals related to our religion even if we don't practice while Japanese have no religion as such.

                          Hope I havn't offended anybody here especially any one who has already married but in my view (who's to say I'm right) J-girls are fine for a bit of fun sex etc...We adore the attention they give us and they fact we can pull them so easily but if it's marraige long term your after (not a visa) stick with your own culture thats my advice. Marraige is rocky enought with the most compatable of people besides adding culture differences.

                          Dermo

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                          • #14
                            Re: The shame culture in Japan

                            it hasnt been noted but most of us on here on not in our mother culture and as such its reasonable that we are all highly biased. perhaps (another) over generalisation but sex and sexual drive is considered natural and basically unoffensive whereas in most christian based western cultures sex is considered dirty, offensive and in religious sub cultures often against relsigios principles. whereas tons of western customs have been influential japanese culture is still very different - why most of us are here.

                            weddings in western countries are generally based on religious ceremonies controlled by the church whereas in japan it is more areligious, if there is such a word.

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                            • #15
                              Re: The shame culture in Japan

                              I disagree with the bit about Japanese women being sub par marriage material. My uncle married a Japanese woman and they have a great relationship and four kids. Besides that one example, I’m sure that there are plenty of people here in the same situation.

                              If you were to say that having a multicultural marriage presents new challenges that are not present within unicultural (I think I made that word up) marriages, then I would agree with you. But saying that “Japanese women are not as good for marriage” seems a bit… silly to me.

                              Of course… I have never been married, so what the hell do I know anyway?!?!

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