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Are Japanese antisocial?

Muz1234

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I am comparing people all over the world how I socialize with them from time to time. I see lots of people from all over the world are quite social, especially the West but Japanese don't go online quite often.
 

mdchachi

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I am comparing people all over the world how I socialize with them from time to time. I see lots of people from all over the world are quite social, especially the West but Japanese don't go online quite often.
Japanese tend to be less bilingual than most countries so you won't see them online engaging in international forums as much. I don't think they are antisocial. I would say they tend to be more insular or tribal. Meaning they are less likely to reach outside their social groups. Americans for example if they have a gathering with work friends or tennis friends or whatever it's common to invite your spouses or other friends to such gatherings. In Japan, they typically don't mix friend groups like this even when it's just a social activity like drinking.
 

bentenmusume

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I can only assume you're looking in English. Japanese people are all over the internet on social media and on Japanese sites...interacting in Japanese.

My Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with literally hundreds of posts a day from Japanese friends and people I follow. Or look at the comments of a Japanese video on YouTube. Or the countless Japanese YouTubers producing videos for a Japanese audience.

I don't see how anyone could come to the conclusion that Japanese people aren't social online. If anything, in part because of some of the reasons mdchachi mentions, I find that some Japanese people feel more comfortable communicating in online communities of people with similar interests than in person. (Then again, this is true for certain types of people in other cultures as well.)
 

misternada

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I would say that Japanese are antisocial by nature, I mean Japan is famous for its hikikomori isn't it ?

A long time ago I was with a girl who has been in a travel agency in Japan, we were in Europe and went to a famous tourist spot,
she told me about a tour girl she knew who sometimes bring tourist to this spot, and it happens she just saw that girl there,
so I told to go and greet her, but she decline say the girl she did not want to disturb the girl during her work... weird..
I mean lot most of people from other countries they would see someone they know on a trip abroad, I think they would at least say hi.

I also have noticed that Japanese mothers with a child in baby car often they put the child face to the wall, maybe there are practical side to this but I would doubt a western woman would do that. I remember once I was on a train there were two Japanese mothers with babies, the babies start to see each other and interact, one of the mother expression less, took her baby and put him in another direction, maybe she feared the interactions between the babies would disturb the peace on the train, I don't know western woman would probably let the children do and smile at each others, don't think this is something you would see in Japan.

Not talking about those Japanese colleagues whom I never seen the face for years because they have been constantly wearing a mask for the past 5 years.
Not talking about that family of five (I think) next door whom me or my wife never seen outside for the past 5 years, I have a good view of their house, so that's quite a feat to go out unnoticed for years, no idea how they look like.
 

bentenmusume

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I don't mean to be rude, but it sounds like you're drawing sweeping conclusions based on anecdotal evidence with a healthy dose of confirmation bias.

Hikikomori is a complicated social issue, and is not just about all Japanese people being antisocial by nature. It would be just as easy to cite groups of schoolchildren walking together and talking/joking/playing around, often in a quite loud and vocal fashion.

I can't say about the travel agency situation, but are you telling me you've never seen Japanese people run into each other unexpectedly and be surprised/happy to see each other? I see it all the time.

If the people on the train were complete strangers, sure, they might be worried about bothering other people, but I can assure you I've seen Japanese people interact randomly and smile to kids on trains with a 可愛いですねぇ~ or what-have-you plenty of times. Are you telling me you've literally never seen a spontaneous social interaction between Japanese people ever? Because if so, I suspect you're just not looking for it.

And somehow I doubt that your Japanese co-workers have never taken off their masks or that your neighbors have never gone outside for five whole years.

Again, I'm not trying to be rude at all, but sometimes I wonder what Japan you live in, because it really doesn't jibe with my experiences at all. Japanese people may, in general, be more reserved in social situations than the average Westerner, but this is a far cry from suggesting that they have the sort of pathological aversion to social interactions that your post seems to imply.
 

misternada

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Not offence taken at all, on the contrary I am curious to hear various point of vue.

The Japaneses have to image of being socially inept and based on what I have seen, there are some truth in that, I remember reading some psychology books a long time ago and I remember they often cited the Japanese as exception to the rule, statements like "smiling everywhere in the World is seen as a friendly gesture, expect in Japan where showing teeth can be a sign of aggressivity" :D No offense I am making that one up . I think, .. could be true actually.

The ever growing number of singles in Japan also denote a problem with social interaction I think.

I remember seeing a sentence on a garbage can sold in Japan: "When I die I want to leave nothing", to me this sentence really reflect the essence of Japanese people nowadays.
 

Mark of Zorro

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I think its important to say that Japanese CULTURE is anti-social as well as anti-social inspiring and not really the people. The culture makes Japanese people feel and act very awkward especially around new people. They are weighed down by cultural rules that just make socializing hella inconvenient and uncomfortable. From specific words that have to be said in certain situations to seasonal obligational gift/card giving to excessive and competitive bowing to the "proper" way to hand someone a business card and the need to even give them one, and other formalities, its just exhausting to try and be social and get all the supposed necessary details right. Any new acquaintance is like "Ah damn, I got to jump through a thousand hoops again." And its worse meeting foreigners cause now they have no playbook to work from at all where they were used to having a playbook for every move. How can you be casual and spontaneous without being creepy when you have never had any practice whatsoever? You can't.
 

Lothor

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I think its important to say that Japanese CULTURE is anti-social as well as anti-social inspiring and not really the people. The culture makes Japanese people feel and act very awkward especially around new people. They are weighed down by cultural rules that just make socializing hella inconvenient and uncomfortable. From specific words that have to be said in certain situations to seasonal obligational gift/card giving to excessive and competitive bowing to the "proper" way to hand someone a business card and the need to even give them one, and other formalities, its just exhausting to try and be social and get all the supposed necessary details right. Any new acquaintance is like "Ah damn, I got to jump through a thousand hoops again." And its worse meeting foreigners cause now they have no playbook to work from at all where they were used to having a playbook for every move. How can you be casual and spontaneous without being creepy when you have never had any practice whatsoever? You can't.
I agree with you about the first part but not with the second part for the very reasons that you gave in the first part.
The fact that there isn't (much of) a playbook when meeting a foreigner means that Japanese people can often be more at ease with foreigners than with Japanese because they don't have to get all the supposed necessary details right and they can let their guard down. I've certainly had no problems making a wide range of Japanese friends here despite often shaking my head in disbelief at the social awkwardness I see between Japanese people who don't know each other well.
 

Mark of Zorro

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The fact that there isn't (much of) a playbook when meeting a foreigner means that Japanese people can often be more at ease with foreigners than with Japanese

"Can" is the operative word here. Maybe some can and some can't? That point may depend more on the person than the culture? Maybe we are both right?
 
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