Honne and tatemae


Honne (true sound) and tatemae (facade) are Japanese words that describe the contrast between a person’s true feelings and desires and the behaviour and opinions that they display in public.

As much as we all go on about how being older, enables us to say exactly what we mean, accept only what we are prepared too, in essence, take control, find our voices.  There are so many times, that we can’t express what we need too.  When for whatever reason, there are things we need to keep to ourselves and weather the storms alone, as sharing them can cause unnecessary hurt.

“Our little sister” is story about a Japanese family of three sisters, who hear of and attend their father’s funeral and discover a little sister, who they willingly take into their home and hearts and another,  “Like father, like son,” (pic above) another Japanese movie currently available where 2 families are ripped apart when they discover that their six year old sons were swopped at birth in hospital.  Words that come to mind about the Japanese people based on these are kindness, humility, control, respectful, contained, welcoming, ritualistic, vociferously non judgmental, and it begs me to ponder if maybe we share too much and too hard.  Perhaps less is more, to contain your feelings from the world leaves you more respected and in control of yourself.  In both of these stories, the backgrounds of the main characters were fraught with pain, disappointments, hurt and unspoken feelings. Amal, is a Japanese concept/word that is used to describe people’s behaviour when they desire to be loved, depending on another person, whether it be your parents, your wife/husband or even your boss with a certain meaning of submission. We all desire to be loved, and to be loved we crave the reciprocation and submit ourselves to whom we seek the love from.

I chose to share many months ago that Depression and Loneliness haunt me from time to time.  They seem to cohabit.  Sometimes in the morning when I wake up I can sense a faint trace of Depression’s smoke, but he has gone somewhere in the night and taken his buddy Loneliness with him.  In the vine of this story, perhaps I should have kept it to myself, but I need you friends of old and those met recently who have walked this road with your children.  You can’t help them feel better or fix them, you can just be alongside them.  Sometimes the lines between honne and tatemae become blurred.

The closing line of  Greys Anatomy last night was…”We have to hold it together for as long as we can”

So go gently all of us.  We have to hold it together and we will, we are of resilient stuff, even when are hearts are breaking.

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