Week 6: Human Relationships May 25-31



  • Ch. 12, Pg 109-114 “Japanese Personal Space,” Hedataru to Najimu 隔たると馴染む
  • Ch. 13, Pg 115-118 “Private vs. Public Stance in Japan,” Honne to Tatemae 本音と建て前
  • Ch. 19, Pg 159-164 “Laying the Groundwork in Japan,” Nemawashi 根回し
  • Ch. 2, Pg 17-22 “The Concept of Japanese Dependence,” Amae 甘え


Writing: Weekly Paper: “Impressions and Points from Your Reading”

  • 1. Interact with the discussion questions at the end of each chapter.
  • 2. Discuss how these cultural characteristics might affect your ministry with Japanese people.


  • Pray daily for Japan and Japanese, using Operation Japan. Make a note in your blog concerning the information and/or your prayer.

Extra Suggestions:



  • 0

    Emily's Notes on Relationships

    Emily Frey

    So interesting to read about hedataru and najimu. I had no idea there were three stages of relationship, moving from acquaintance to deep intimacy. Its really good to be aware of this, though, as I invite students into my home–to know what I may be communicating to them unconsciously. I think my family has probably developed najimu with several students over the years as we have had them travel and spend intimate time and space with our family, especially our Homestay students. It was worth noting that “Japanese family builds mutual trust by simply staying together rather than having conversations”. I feel so sad to consider how mindless relationships have become. The value on relating to another human life, especially those of the family, has been totally destroyed by the evil one. We need to pray that minds would be awakened and hearts be drawn towards true and lively feelings.

    It was really interesting to also read about nemawashi. I have respect for how things work in more collective societies, in business and decision making. I don’t always see it as threatening or wrong; just different. I can appreciate how they work things differently to gain consensus around ideas or decisions. I don’t think the concept is really that foreign. Just sounds like someone is doing the work to make a good deal happen!

  • 0

    Reflections on week 6

    Linda Grimms

    In every culture and subculture of society, there are internal norms for how people relate to each other – personal space, etc. As I read these chapters, the uchi-to-soto mindset was being described in diverse ways. Differences between family, friends, outsiders, and strangers seem to be more explicitly defined in Japan than in other cultures like my own. For example, to the extent that the Japanese idea of nemawashi helps to develop decisions through consensus, I have some experience within the American Quaker church with that type of decision-making model. Working to develop consensus before decision-making is actually a lot of work, but it can result in productivity and better decisions when good planning and discernment have taken place – although sometimes it just takes a lot of time and little is accomplished.

    When I read Anne’s blog, I became concerned about the bullying aspect of PTA council participation – the opposite of nemawashi, as far as I could tell from the blog. Where was the spirit of wa – of harmony? Where was the practice of tatemae – restrained speech in order to avoid hurting others’ feelings?

  • 1

    Week 6


    These chapters don’t seem too out of ordinary if I were comparing this to Western culture although I do think Japanese culture puts more emphasis on how they apply certain attitudes toward each other. The one thing that stood out most for me was Chapter 13 when talking about how some people will ask their guests, “Won’t you dine with us for dinner?” as a hint of telling them to leave although I’ve sort of see a lot of this in America too.

    But I wonder if this just takes time to get used to as since foreigners like myself are supposed to detect when I am not welcomed or how am I suppose to uncover true feelings of another individual? It appears that this close inner circle mentioned in Chapter 2 highlights that a little where you are either close with someone or far. Again, this doesn’t seem anything I haven’t experienced already. But Japan kind of has a greater impact on really covering their feelings and I find it so difficult since I’m all accustomed to expressing my own feelings frequently (to a certain extent of course) but to constantly hide emotions or opinions must be quite difficult to maneuver not only with others but also with yourself.

    • Tnishihara

      I questioned that same sentiment. That above statement totally struck a cord with me too. Its difficult to discipher what the japanese really mean. It’s really confusing. I’m Japanese American, . I associate myself with both cultures. I definitely see both cultural identities in my interactions with people. Sometimes Its hard to admit to the Japanese side of my personality, but its true come to think of it. and its difficult to understand the (or the Japanese) hide emotions or opinions.