November 4, 2011
Hikikomori is withdrawal in Japanese terms where a person withdraws from the society to live in extreme isolation in their houses. The word means pulling away or confinement where a person due to problems that are stressing choose not to engage in social interaction. It is characterized by loosing friends, spending the whole day indoors engaging in indoor activities such as playing video games, watching television and other related activities especially for young people. Such people only get out of their houses or confinement when it is necessary such as picking items they need and immediately go back indoors. For such behavior to be considered Hikikomori, it has to go on for more than a month, with others going for years. Most sufferers of this condition are young people especially teenagers who do so because of the strict rules of education where going to university is a first priority, and when they cannot, most result to isolation. More so, due to cultural beliefs of Japan where men are expected to be achievers, many of the sufferers are men.
There are many differences between western and Japanese ideas of sexuality and gender identity. The Japanese still hold to their traditional notion of sexuality where gay sex is strongly discriminated. In the western culture, there are gay movements that protect the right of homosexuals, who are now recognized as part of the community and accepted by many. Gay marriage is common in the western culture, while in Japan, even the idea of two men living in the same house is not seen as a matter of economic circumstance, but as a gay behavior. Girls are allowed to share the same house since they are expected to earn less than men do and it can be understood to be due to economic conditions. In Japan, homosexual do not have a right of marriage. When it comes to transsexual where a person wishes to change their sex identity, in the western culture it is well accepted as long as it is the person’s wish. In Japan, transsexual has had many issues and it is not yet accepted among majority despite there being bodies fighting for it.
In the study carried out in Japan and Australia to compare the attitudes of the public towards mental illness, it was found that in Japan, the people were likely to have more stigmatizing perceptions towards mental illness than Australia. In Japan, the public had a more attitude that the person suffering from the illness would snap out of it than Australians believed it did. In addition, the Japanese had a bigger view that the condition was not medical but a personal weakness that a person could come out. There was a possible explanation that since Japanese value individual conformity to the society more, people with mental illnesses are likely to be discriminated more in Japan since they do not conform to the society as expected. Such people with such conditions are considered weak and unable to conform to society and many are likely to associate with them, even working with them is not appreciated. There seems to be a more understanding of mental conditions in Australia, where people understand that such conditions are not mere personal weaknesses but could be real medical situations. In terms of sharing such problems to others, the study shows that Australians are more likely to share their problems and get help while Japanese are more likely to withdraw from sharing their problems. More so, Australians believe that such people are unpredictable and would need help, and they would choose to stay away from such people, especially those with chronic schizophrenia since they understand they could be dangerous. The Japanese would stay away from them mostly because they do not conform to the society, and not because they are dangerous since they believe it is a personal weakness, which a person can snap out of (Griffiths, n.d.).
Impact of TV drama on Japanese community
Today communication technology continues to grow tremendously and many forms of entertainment are finding their way to televisions including dramas. In Japan, television drama, also called Dorama in Japanese has grown tremendously influencing the community. Today, the young people are very fond of television and spend most a lot of time on it. Japanese are quite fond of their drama that is aired in three-month seasons with each season bringing new dramas. Most of the dramas are centered on cultural values, though there is variety including horror and romance. This has influenced the community positively managing to change people’s views about other world and their own. Many people in Japan today watch television, and considering that other dramas also include the ideas from other cultures, Japanese people have been able to appreciate other cultures as well while still maintaining their culture.
Before reading the topic on education about Japanese education, my understanding of their society was low. I thought their education much resembled the western, and did not have anything to do with their society considering their technological advancement. However, after reading the topic on their education, I have learned it plays an important role in shaping their behavior when they grow up. Japan has really advanced over the last several decades such in terms of technology. Their education system especially in higher schools is organized into groups, called Bukatsudo, where students are treated like apprentices on the same cause taught through observation and copying. From this topic, it is evident that Japanese society values communal work and students are taught to become adults through copying their teachers who are supposed to be their role models. Through these groups, students are taught hierarchy of the community its values to the society and learn their individual roles in the society.
From the article, it is evident that the Japanese society uses sports clubs in schools to foster healthy sportsmanship and develop the students mentally as well as physically. Games are used in schools as a way to motivate the students positively towards becoming leaders of the future. In Japan, through such clubs students learn the hierarchy of community and learn at an early age that they are supposed to become leaders of tomorrow following in their elders footsteps. Hence, such clubs are highly regarded, serving to provide discipline for the students. It is evident in Japan that being in such a group one is given much respect in the society rather than not participating in such groups. Communal learning is seen as the best way of helping the young students learn their roles in their respective society.
What was interesting about the Japanese education is the idea of learning in groups where the groups act as a way of teaching the students socializing skills. Through working together in their endeavors, the students learn how to cope with situations in their life together and develop comradeship, encouraging them to help each other in all situations. The students learn the art of committing their services to others and looking out for each other by learning together. Other forms of education only require students to help each other at class level and in school teams for those who want to engage n games. For Japanese clubs, it is mainly meant to foster positive development in many areas such as undergoing through hard tasks together, learning manners, and through such activities, they go through a self-realization that makes them come out with strong character and responsibility to their society.
In the Japanese society, there were values, rules or code conducts that were being followed by the society. They believed in peace, unity and harmony among the members themselves. This believes have been there for centuries until today. When it came to conflict resolutions, there were ways in which the Japanese society used to resolve them. They used the ‘Omote’ and ‘Ura.’ Omote means publicly legitimate, dramatized and dignified element, with formality and rigid while Ura means privately allowed, practical and efficient element with formality and flexibility (Ishida, 2011).
The connection between the two is determined by the situation in which the two tend to appear. For instance, a person can be said to behave according to Omote values in a certain situation depending on the angle a person views the situation (Ishida, 2011). In addition, the person can be said to behave in accordance to the Ura values in another angle but still the same situation. Another connection between the two in the Japanese society was between the superiors and the inferiors in a hierarchy. In the process of legitimating, Omote, a superior could decide how much Ura could be permitted. Therefore, when a superior was interacting with a junior, in Omote, the rules were strict but in Ura the rules were a bit relaxed (Ishida, 2011).
The two had certain conflicts among them. For example, when two leaders of the same level in a hierarchy were privately talking together about an issue of the war, they could openly say what they felt independently. In this case, the two leaders were on the Ura level. On the other hand, if the two leaders were in the presences of other people and they were talking about the war they could simply say that Japan was going to win the war despite the situation (Ishida, 2011). In this situation, they could be said to be on the Omote level. Therefore, in this example, the conflict can be said that in Omote the relationship is indirect while in Ura the relationship is direct.
To sum up the two, in a conflict, the two can be easily applied to relax the tension and solve the situation in a gentler manner. For instance, the Japanese used to apply the Ura value to relax the tension between the two conflicting sides and at the same time they applied the Omote level to reduce the conflict completely (Ishida, 2011).
Griffiths, K. M, Nakane, Y., Christensen, H., Yoshioka, K, J., Anthony F, & Nakane, H. (n.d.). Stigma in response to mental disorders: a comparison of Australia and Japan. BioMed Central.
Ishida, T. (2011). Conflicts and it accomondation: Omote-Ura and Uchi-Soto Relationships. Jconflict. Retrieved from: http://cla.calpoly.edu/~bmori/syll/Hum310japan/Jconflict.html