The Japanese practise of honne-tatemae describes the contrast between one’s true feelings and desires (honne) and public facade (tatemae). As you can imagine, the two rarely ever match up. It’s a practise that leaves many foreigners either utterly confused or highly critical about the lack of transparency that’s pervasive in Japanese culture.
But I must say – this honne-tatemae divide isn’t a uniquely Japanese phenomenon. Remember that cliche – things are not as they seem? Hmm… about that…
All you have to do is spend a couple of minutes on Facebook to realise that a lot of people out there are full of crap. In this social media age – everyone is micromanaging their facade like never before. I actually went off Facebook for three years because I hated the superficial nonsense, the lack of honesty, and the fact that people are super nosey about my relationship status. The joys of being an Asian woman.
NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS – YO!
Two weeks ago, I talked to a Japanese friend of mine about her opinion on honne-tatemae. She succinctly said, “It’s great in business dealings, but you shouldn’t practise it with your friends.
If you need to practise honne-tatemae with a friend – that person is not a real friend.
Which brings me to my tarot card for the day: the Three of Pentacles. Here we see three people working on a project. From the way they’re dressed – you can tell there’s a difference in status and social standing. Despite this, they know that they need each other to get the job done. Their body language is cordial, yet distant.
In order to collaborate as a team – you need to be all about the business. This doesn’t mean being a selfish douche. It’s just that you can’t go around divulging your true feelings to business associates. So what if I don’t like this person? I still have to work with them to get the job done.
WELCOME TO LIFE – YO!
Having said that, I seriously have no patience with people who practise this honne-tatemae stuff in friendships. And like every mature millennial – I ‘unfriend’ such people swiftly and quickly. Ahh… little harsh? Ok – I’ll just ‘unfollow’ them instead.