J a p a n e s e    C u l t u r e

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.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Omotenashi may be Unwelcome and Unwelcoming

The Japanese are proud of their Omotenashi, "service of the heart", where the server not only provides what the customer asks for but provides what the server judges the customer needs may not be as bad as a kick in the teeth, and will often be an interesting cultural experience, but it may not be felt to be entirely welcoming, or welcome to Westerners. Westerners like to fool themselves that they are young, independent, and capable. So when people offer them help without their asking, it is like becing told that they are incabable and they find this to be stressfu than receiving help only when they ask for it (left hand two bars). More grateful, realistic East Asians on the other hand are aware that they need help, and that others will often know when to help them before they know it themselves. They also do not want to be a burned upon others so, they do not like asking for things. Hence East Asians tend to find it less stressful to be helped without having to ask for help (right hand two bars in the above graph). In other words, while East Asians may find "Omotenashi," service of the heart, welcoming, it may be unwelcome to Westerners. Image from p92 of Mojaverian, T., & Kim, H. S. (2013). Interpreting a Helping Hand Cultural Variation in the Effectiveness of Solicited and Unsolicited Social Support. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39(1), 88–99. doi:10.1177/0146167212465319 http://flic.kr/p/qnvNqe

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