7 false cliches people think about the Japanese!
Written by Méline

The truth exposed about the cliches on Japanese people!

Find out the reality behind some of Japan most famous cliches!

Recently, Japanese culture has become very popular around the world, and some wrong ideas about Japan spreaded as well. Here are some of them!

1 - Every Japanese is super polite

Well, even if politeness is indeed very important in Japanese culture, it’s also the case in many other cultures, and that doesn’t mean everyone is polite. So no, Japanese people are not irreproachable polite, some are rude, some are not, like everywhere else!

The real difference lies in fact that Japanese society wants you to blend in: where western society value the differences between people, Japan’s prefers homogeneity. Most Japanese people don’t really like to be noticed, and feel more comfortable in a crowd. So in public, people are very polite, they don’t litter, they bow to each other and no one speak on the phone in the metro, because if you do one the these things, you’ll probably get bad looks from others, which most Japanese really want to avoid.

But truth is, Japanese can be very passive-aggressive, and only be polite in front of you. The speech they use may be polite, but the underlying meanings can be quite menacing!

2 - Eating sushi a lot

No, sadly for sushi lovers like me, sushi is not the main dish in Japanese everyday life. Rice, as in many other East-Asian country, is what you’ll have at every meal!

Sushi for Japanese people is occasional, and if you can find a lot of sushi places all around Japan, it’s only because it’s an emblematic dish, such as fish and chips in England, paella in Spain, or burgers in the US.

Furthermore, with the exception of several conveyor belt sushi stores, sushi is typically not a cost-effective meal, and is only ordered for delivery on special occasions.

3 - Can’t handle alcohol

Aaaah, Japanese sake… Very tasty in my opinion, but also stronger then what you’d expect! However, it is another common mistake to believe Japanese people only drink sake, they have pretty much every classic alcohols we have in western countries, and it’s more usual to see a Japanese with a beer then a cup of sake!

About handling alcohol, they actually drink as much as everyone else, the only difference is that when they get super-drunk, instead of making love confessions to everyone, sending 35 texts to their ex and fight with trees, they just fall asleep. And, as Japan is a very safe country, they fall asleep pretty much everywhere: in clubs, on the streets, in the metro… because in Japan it is less likely that something bad will happen to them, then in any other country.

Go watch the Instagram account “ShibuyaMeltDown” if you want a sight of drunk-sleeping Japanese in Tokyo!

4 - Anime and manga is everywhere

Compared to the way kids from other countries watch cartoons, and then gradually start watching movies and tv shows as they grown up, but some adults are still into cartoons (Rick and Morty, The Simpsons), well it is quite the same in Japan with anime and manga. Kids watch a lot of anime, grown-up less, and when you’re adult you’re more likely to read a manga (this would be the equivalent of comic-books in other counties) rather then watching the anime.

Some people are into comics and cartoons the same way some Japanese are into manga and anime, and not every Japanese enjoy it, so don’t come up to them asking what Naruto character is their favorite, as surprising as it seems, they may have never watched it!

5 - Being shy

Again, Japan is like many other countries and not everyone is shy. What people wrongly identify as shyness is again a consequence of the respect culture, and Japanese might act shy only because they want to make sure not to bother anyone, and not to be too intrusive. Once you get to know them, shyness quickly disappears (unless of course if the person is genuinely shy)!

On the other hand, some regions do have Japanese that are more shy than others. For example, Tokyo is famous for being ‘cold’ and ‘distant’, whereas regions such as Osaka will have people that are more likely to talk to strangers

6 - Crazy fashion

If you believe every Japanese have crazy hair color and clothing style, you may have watched too many anime! Even if you can find in some area, such as Harajuku in Tokyo, people with original outfits and stores with eccentric clothing items, this is only a very small community and the vast majority of Japanese actually dress pretty classical. Japan’s fashion is quite modest, and where anime characters might have very short or see-through clothes, real-life Japanese usually don’t.

Even the crazy Harajuku fashion is slowly dying out, so i guess we’ll be seeing this less and less as time goes on.

7 - Japanese women are submissive and docile

… only in appearance, maybe because of the strong kawaii culture in Japan which drives woman to act in a childish and naive way, in order to appear more cute. But once you get to know them, you will soon discover that most of them are not specifically submissive or docile, in fact in marriage, it is more common that the woman rules the house rather then the husband.

Japanese women have temper as well as any other women in the world, they just might play the docile character to make themselves more likable.

Don't take everything your read about Japan for granted! Japan has a unique and complex culture, that keeps surprising me everyday!

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