Behold, the first word of many I will introduce on this site that carries a lot of cultural weight in Japan; Kirikaeru, Which can be directly translated to “To switch on or off”. This “switch” isn’t a mere linguistic nuance. It is an unspoken truth of Japanese social dynamics. There is this expectation to align yourself with others. To adjust your personality to the needs of the room. In contrast to this, in the west, it is generally an optimal strategy to put on a face at work or with someone you’re trying to give a good impression. The cultural norm in the west may even be to almost trick those around you into believing in this cherry-picked persona. The western concept of identity is one of consistency, and authenticity. The the origin of the English word “identity” is “identitatem”, lit. “Sameness.” In Japan, People seemingly instantaneously adjust their demeanor and mannerisms, all in an attempt to fit the needs of the room. It’s not just normal, it’s a cultural expectation. In Japan, all parties involved know that this process takes place dozens of times in each encounter, and it isn’t offensive or off-putting in the slightest. But how can … Continue reading Kirikaeru, The Switch, And Identity Within The Context Of Japan.
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