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.

Friday, February 20, 2015


Linguistic Self-Consistency

If asked to describe themselves in a group, to their peers, on their own, or to a teacher, Americans give three times as many positive as negative statements. Americans are boastful in almost all situations. Japanese on the other hand are generally humble even with peers. They are only a little self aggrandizing when they are on their own.

The American self-consistent bragging is a sort of self-addressed love song. They look like they are describing themselves to other people, but really they are talking to someone hidden within themselves. By this device, they make themselves feel their imaginary friend's love. On the other hand since it is well known that people the world over like humility, the Japanese are merely representing themselves in a perfectly natural, pleasant way.

Hand the subjects a camera, however, and suddenly the ghost that haunts the Japanese psyche becomes apparent, from their utra-cute selfie behaviour. It is through this comparison, I hope, we shall have her out into the light of day. Got it!

Image adapted from Table 6, p99 in Kanagawa, Cross, & Markus, (2001). Kanagawa, C., Cross, S. E., & Markus, H. R. (2001). ‘Who am I?’ The cultural psychology of the conceptual self. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27(1), 90–103. http://flic.kr/p/rgNvAX

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