A Conversation for 'Tatemae' and 'Honne' in Japanese Society

correction on pronounciation

Post 1


I asked a Japanese girl named Yuko about this concept recently, and she told me Tatemae is pronounced like "tatta-maya" as in Tat-te-ma-e.
She gave me the example that in Japan, when someone has a visitor whom they would like to leave, they ask "would you like to stay for dinner?"
Of course, they immediately would respond, "no I'm going to go home now, thank you."
For a Western mind to comprehend that statement, you need to think of it being said in a sarcastic tone, like "man, you've been here all day - are you going to stay for dinner too?!?" But of course the Japanese way within the concept of Tatemae is to say it politely as if you are genuinely inviting them to stay.

correction on pronounciation

Post 2


yeah, but are we westerners (UK, Surrey) any different? How many times do you say, "Why don't you stay and have a bit of dinner with us?" when afternoon guests aren't showing any signs of taking themselves off home as the evening approaches? Much as you like them, you've probably seen enough of them for one day and you're hoping they'll do the decent thing and get on their bikes. Oh dear no. Then again there are those days when you are round at a friend's house with the kids and the thing ends up going late into the evening even though you would really rather have sloped off home at around 6pm or so because they can't seem to bear to be parted from you (can I really be that popular - surely not?)

But what would happen if we were brutally honest and said, sorry, we've got to go now - we really really just want to go home? Dearly as I love my friends and family I don't think that would go down very well!

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correction on pronounciation

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