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Alan Armstrong
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:29 pm    Post subject: Asian Honor Reply with quote

According to psychologytoday

Japan has the highest suicide rate among Asian countries with more than 30,000 Japanese killing themselves each year. Taking your life is seen as an honorable way of atoning for public disgrace and expression of one’s deep sense of shame.

This cultural belief or baggage, exists today among many Asian-American families and is a main factor why suicide is the second leading cause of death for Asian-Americans aged 15-34, according to the American Psychological Association.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/minority-report/201406/asian-honor-and-suicide
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Could this trend be adopted by practicing martial arts?
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Spartacus Maximus
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe it would be wise to avoid extending this cultural phenomenon to a region as wide-ranging and diverse as the entire continent of Asia. It would not be reasonable to expect any common cultural concepts between Japan and Cambodia or Vietnam, for example.

Each of these cultures have their own world-view and a concept such as “honour” or “face” will be considered in different ways.

It would also be false that these cultural traits would remain among people beyond the first or second generation born and raised in a culture and country to which they immigrated. A person of Japanese decent is no longer culturally Japanese if born and raised in America. This person will most likely not think like a Japanese person in Japan.

As one who has been immersed in Japanese culture and intimately tied to it, it is possible to say that “face” is taken very seriously. Culturally, being embarrassed or causing shame is about the absolute worst thing that could possibly happen to a person. In this context people will do anything to avoid or escape such a situation, up to and including suicide.

Sometimes the reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed is only perceived as such. The mere possibility or the slightest risk of causing shame or embarrassment is enough to prevent any initiative. Even if said action or decision is highly important or seems like a great idea.

This mentality still prevails, however the younger generations are slowly changing and starting to see that there is value in taking a chance and facing difficulties instead of avoiding action or leaving it to someone else. Suicide as a solution to a real or percieved affront to “honour” is increasingly being seen as cowardly and weak-willed. It is still not something most would readily admit to thinking and saying such a thing clearly has gotten public people a considerable amount of criticism. Which brings us to another Japanese cultural trait: facade vs true heart. The latter being shown only to one’s inner social circle and the former for everyone else.

From someone who has lived, trained and worked with the Japanese and among them both in their country and elsewhere for the last two decades.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus, that's a good reply, well informed. I think honor as we see it today is something that isn't taken as seriously as it used to be, although I don't think it should have ever been to that extent.
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Spartacus Maximus
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A somewhat similar concept of honour did exist in much of the Western world (Western Europe and its diaspora). Contrary to the cultural Japanese concept, it was usually associated with the military and upper classes. Generally people who attached a great deal of importance to their rank or reputation.

Unlike in the traditional Japanese view, suicide(for any reason) was(and still is to some extent) considered a cowardly act or that of an extremely desperate person. Some cultures such as the English even wrote it into their laws as a crime deserving of the death penalty.

Suicide carried a very strong negative stigma. Until quite recently suicides would be hidden or covered up. People who killed themsleves could not get a regular burial. The most common way to deal with loss of face or an affront to honour was to fight. It was much more acceptable to fight and possibly die in a duel than to commit suicide.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah yes, the dual of honor. To some extent, its still around, but not nearly as publicly acceptable as it used to be.
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sensei8
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This subject to me, and to most of everyone else, is a very sensitive subject matter, and in that, I try to be extremely careful, and respectful, as well as serious about this subject; never taking it lightly.

It's both sad and confusing to wrap ones head around it, especially if were not somehow personally affected by it's consequences, and it's often times finality.

I grew up with a mom that tried to take her own life while I was in Jr. High School. She had made it difficult for me to take things for granted because I never knew from one day or another if she was going to succeed in her suicide attempts.

After a while, over about a years time, I started to become numb as well as insensitive towards her plight of depressions. My brother, Donald, and my sister, Ruth, and myself one time finally told her to either stop it or get it over.

Yes, that was dumb and uncaring for us, however, imagine what she was putting us through on a daily basis; never knowing if she'll be with us any longer or not. Yes, she was going through something that was way beyond and above what we, as her kids, could solve.

Our comforts just bounced off her and came back to us in sour verbal attacks!! We had no idea what to do to help her!!

In time, and with the interventions of well caring and well meaningful professions, she received the help that she needed. Up until she passed away on an operating table, at 63 years old, 21 years ago this past June 1996, she was genuinely happy.



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Last edited by sensei8 on Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:42 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Spartacus Maximus
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Believe into or not there were some honour duels fought by prominent political and public figures in Western Europe as recently as the 1960’s.

Times have certainly changed and there is much more understanding now as there used to be towards suicide and the reasons people might do it. In general, though loss-off-face, embarrassment or questions of honour are not thought of as something to die for.

Suicide is still considered as an act of desperation from a deeply troubled person with serious problems, not just because they were ashamed or caused embarrassment.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
This subject to me, and to most of everyone else, is a very sensitive subject matter, and in that, I try to be extremely careful, and respectful, as well as serious about this subject; never taking it lightly.

It's both sad and confusing to wrap ones head around it, especially if were not somehow personally affected by it's consequences, and it's often times finality.

I grew up with a mom that tried to take her own life while I was in Jr. High School. She had made it difficult for me to take things for granted because I never knew from one day or another if she was going to succeed in her suicide attempts.

After a while, over about a years time, I started to become numb as well as insensitive towards her plight of depressions. My brother, Donald, and my sister, Ruth, and myself one time finally told her to either stop it or get it over.

Yes, that was dumb and uncaring for us, however, imagine what she was putting us through on a daily basis; never knowing if she'll be with us any longer or not. Yes, she was going through something that was way beyond and above what we, as her kids, could solve.

Our comforts just bounced off her and came back to us in sour verbal attacks!! We had no idea what to do to help her!!

In time, and with the interventions of well caring and well meaningful professions, she received the help that she needed. Up until she passed away on an operating table, at 63 years old, 21 years ago this past June 1996, she was genuinely happy.




The beginning of your thread here is a most unfortunate story, Bob, and I'm glad things eventually turned around for your mother.

What you talk about here shows how easy it can be to begin to become de-sensitized to something if one is exposed to it often and repeatedly. At some point, no matter what it is, it becomes like the boy who cried wolf, it seems.
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