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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Sunday, May 05, 2013


Japanese Shame: No place to hide

Many Japanese commentators have objected to Ruth Benedict's opus on Japanese culture "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword" either because they deny the existence of the morality based upon a non-social moral standard, or because they believe that the Japanese have a non-social moral standard too. One of the latter is Sakuta Keiichi who wrote that there are two types of shame: public shame (公恥) caused by the censure of others and private caused by the self's censure of the self. What he failed to do however is explain how "private shame" (私恥) differs from guilt. Readers of the blog will be aware that I claim that private shame is visual - resulting from the internalisation of a mirror or generalised other, whereas guilt results from the silent approbation felt towards the voice of conscience when we attempt to justify that which we feel guilty about. Those that have internalised a generalised other can not hide from guilt.

This difference can be seen in the way in which Westerners express both shame and guilt as something from which one can hide, whereas Japanese hide when they are embarrassed but since Japanese shame is always private shame, they have no place to hide when they feel it.

Pictures of Westerners Feeling Embarrassment
I embarrass youAl MartinoBag on me 'edEmbarrassedEmbarrassing Joke11/365 so embarrassed
Embarrassed ChimpEmbarrassed Two Year OldembarrassedEmbarrassed86/365: Embarrassed52: 25: Hanging My Head in Shame
206/365: "I saw it, it was a run by fruiting!"Embarrassed much?day69: new appointmentsembarrassed
Hiding in Embarrasment, a gallery on Flickr.

Pictures of Westerners Hiding in Shame
ShameShame (The Empire Portrait)no shameBeyond Shamethe Shame of BeingMarten - Shame on me
bath 3Wall of shame.Day 40 of 365

Hiding in Shame, a gallery on Flickr.

Pictures of Japanese Feeling Embarrassment
恥ずかしい恥ずかしい - Shy恥ずかしいから・・・恥ずかしいの猫です...0612250026 重本ことり  恥ずかしい。 #dream5
初めでだから、恥ずかしいね!アリサ: は…恥ずかしいです。 ; A ;あはっ。そんな、恥ずかしい・・・。←裸んぼshinsaibashi03

恥ずかしくて身を隠している方, a gallery on Flickr.

Pictures of Japanese Feeling Shame on Google.Very few are hiding, but there is some self touching.

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.