The Japanese Mindset of Acceptance

The Japanese people are good at acceptance. Instead of complaining, they try to embrace things as they are. Nick and Shintaro Kono talk about the Japanese people's way of acceptance compared to the Western culture.

The Japanese are really good at acceptance.

Nick: But what's interesting about Japanese culture is Japanese seem to be very good at accepting things, they can’t control; events. And they have that expression as you would know, as shouganai

So they're very good at accepting things they can't control. And they don't seem to complain. In terms of relationships, I've sort of discovered how much they are very cautious about sharing their true feelings.

The opposite is true in the West, if something happens beyond our control, we tend to complain and vent and get angry, and why does this always happen to me?

Maybe we're more trusting in our relationships, where we're pretty open to people and we're not as fearful or cautious when we share personal aspects of our life.

Shintaro: I certainly experienced so and felt so when I first went to the US for my degrees. That was very pleasant, how they would just jump in, and they'll say things or do things and see what the other party, friends would probably feel.

Maybe if they judge, that's their type of mentality, almost. I think there is some level of almost in a way that Japanese people, or Western people, try not to control, there are others.

So you cannot control other people type of discourse is very prevalent, which is not necessarily the case in Japan, sometimes that maybe we think that it's a relationship, there's something wrong about you, there is always you in that relationship, you should be doing something -- you should not be doing mentality is working in the back of the head, which is sometimes very stressful. 

Nick: It's not very healthy but it's understandable and I think everyone can relate. So there's a quote, I don't know whose it is, but it's something along the lines of "We should be indifferent of the good or bad opinions of others". That might be something to aspire to.

We do want positive feedback from the people who define us or from the people we care about. So if you share something with someone you care about, and they find a negative aspect of it, that's probably going to upset you a little.

Maybe through life experience, we understand ultimately you've got to be happy with your own choices and the opinions of others you can't control but I think you still want that positive feedback like you want the positive shared experience. 

Shintaro: The point about that as we age, and as we live more is that hopefully, we will have not necessarily more of ibasho, but a really clear idea of where your ibasho, where your partner is maybe, or a certain type of friends, long term friends, best friends, old friends, where you can just always go to. 

So that's, I think, something that's not necessary, clear, and available to younger adults. I think that's one of the reasons potentially, again, in terms of interpersonal relationships that young adults may struggle with in terms of ikigai.