ARTICLES AND COLUMNS
- Long Life
Banzai is a Japanese cheer meaning "long life". Three cheers of Banzai are given to express enthusiasm, applause, and favor on happy occasions. Banzai is usually accompanied with the gesture of great joy - holding up of the hands in an animated manner. On a relatively ceremonious social occasion the cheer is led by an important person of the gathering. The phrase uttered in hailing Emperor is "Tenno-heika bazai", which means "Long live the Emperor".
The Japanese word Hade (hah-day) has no precise English equivalent. It corresponds partly to brightness, gaiety, showiness, lavishness, etc., according to the context, and can be used in describing various things such as color, design, character, and behavior. Representing the opposite of Hade is Jimi, which is also extensively employed to depict people or things plain, quiet, subdued, or modest. There is in Japan an old saying, "Deru kui wa utareru - The nail that sticks out gets hammered down." This explains the tendency of the Japanese to avoid standing out from others in favor of conformity. It is closely associated with the concepts of Hade and Jimi: the former usually has more or less reproachful connotations, while the latter does not. General preference for Jimi rather than Hade, combined with the traditional stress on age difference, is reflected in diverse areas of Japanese life. Top of Page
TO TATEMAE - Opinion & Action
Honne to Tatemae means, an opinion or an action motivated by ones true inner feelings and an opinion or an action influenced by social norms. These two words are often considered a dichotomy contrasting genuinely-held personal feelings and opinions from those that are socially controlled. Honne is ones deep motive or intention, while Tatemae refers to motives or intentions that are socially-tuned, those that are shaped, encouraged, or suppressed by majority norms. For example, an accepted code of Tatemae, Be kind to everyone, may be broken in order to justify the Honne that ones own children are not expected to make friends with slow learners.
However, Honne and Tatemae are not actually opposites as these two values are relative to people and situations. For instance, when a liberalist is asked to tell his Tatemae, he may say that armament is unnecessary and so is the state. When he is asked to tell his Honne, however, he may say that he recognizes the necessity of a state. On the contrary, a conservatives Tatemae is that a state is good and so is armament. His Honne, however, can be that the state is an evil because it can lead to the outbreak of war.
In spite of these obvious discrepancies, Japanese people continue to use these two forms of communication and they switch from Tatemae to Honne, or vice versa, according to the context. Consequently, an inexperienced listener may find it difficult to distinguish, for instance, whether a host is really expressing a sincere invitation to dinner, or whether he is merely paying lip service. Socially-skilled guests, however, are expected to determine, by the tone of voice and other nonverbal clues, the depth of the hosts intentions.
Another dimension of this dichotomy is that Honne is expressed privately while Tatemae may be openly professed. Observing the formalities of a business meeting, a person tends to follow protocol. Later, while enjoying conversation with his colleagues over a glass of beer or sake (rice wine), the same person will frankly express his Honne regarding the issues raised at the meeting. Aiming at peace and harmony, the public self avoids confrontation, whereas the private self tends toward sincere self-expression.Top of Page