UsefulNotes/HonneAndTatemae


(permanent link) added: 2011-03-01 07:21:12 sponsor: peccantis (last reply: 2014-07-27 10:15:25)

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Redirects: Tatemae And Honne Alternative titles: Inner Self Outer Self, Inner Self And Outer Self

Needs help, and examples and tropes maybe. Can we get an image featuring an Inner Sakura moment?


The distinction between a person's inner self, true feelings, and outer self, the way they behave, is a central feature of human culture and humanity. Animals generally cannot hide their motives behind a fašade of conscious behaviour. [[hottip:Explanation :Some birds have been found to deceive members of their own species on purpose.]]

The concept is known worldwide, although the distinction is clearer in East Asia, where the social ideal favours a more separate and norm-fulfilling Outer Self as opposed to the modern West, where great differences in inner beliefs and outer behaviour are considered untruthful and being "true to oneself" is valued more than sacrificing the self for the better of society.

The concepts of the inner and outer self, called honne and tatemae respectively, are crucial to the Japanese culture. The public self fulfils the expectations of the social environment. Think about the Stepford Smiler. That's basically the idea of honne and tatemae exaggerated. The original Stepford Wives had the perfect tatemae (perfect in a Western context that is), but being machines, completely lacked the honne. Yamato Nadeshiko is basically a female character with the perfect Japanese context tatemae.

Honne is an extremely intimate thing, more or less a taboo. The Japanese word ai (love) is rarely used just because it deals with the deep feelings of the honne; using the word is either extreme closeness of souls or audacity. Suki (liking, or, to like) is much more acceptable and not as invasive. Not keeping up the tatemae front up like it should be is the core and the definition of a faux pas in Japanese culture. Saying things that are expected of you but that you don't really believe in is not considered lying - it is behaving in the correct way. Of course, most of the time you will be able to choose your words carefully to avoid straight out betraying your inner self.
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