Japanese think on the peculiar way, the law of cause and effect.


Japanese way of thinking

Japanese way of thinking

[012]Japanese Honorific



Honorific in Japanese

Perhaps every language has honorific. It is important to respect other people.

Japanese language has very complex honorific as grammar. It is too difficult for even Japanese people to use it correctly. Japanese are required to use honorific grammar correctly. A person who speaks with honorific grammar fluently must be excellent. A person who speaks with incorrect honorific grammar must be regarded as uncultivated. That is the serious problem for Japanese. In social situation we must use honorific grammar at higher level. Because honorific grammar is so hard, it is valuable to use it well. That shows our social status or intelligence.


3 honorific grammars

Honorifics in Japanese are broadly referred to as keigo (literally "respectful language").

Keigo has three main categories.

(1) sonkeigo: "respectful language"
(2) kenjogo: "humble language" or "modest language"
(3) teineigo: "polite language"

Perhaps any other languages have never such intricate honorific grammar! Even for Japanese it is too difficult. Especially the difference between sonkeigo and kenjogo is difficult. Actually I think kenjogo is the most characteristic of Japanese language and Japanese culture.

What is kenjogo?

Sonkeigo is used to raise you. I say what you do with sonkeigo. By the way, I don't use sonkeigo when I say what I do. Then I say what I do with kenjogo. Kenjogo is used to lower me. We have different systems to say the same verb if to raise or to lower.

Some Japanese confuse sonkeigo and kenjogo. We know the wrong usage of keigo is strange, but we know it is difficult to use keigo. We should master keigo to be a social person in Japan.

Kenjogo and conceding

I told about Japanese conceding in the last article. I think kenjogo is the very conceding. It is not obsequious. I know Japanese are regarded to be obsequious. I don't think so. If we are obsequious, Japanese culture is based on obsequiousness. Then, Japanese culture is small and valueless. No!! We are Japanese. We have wonderful culture. Of course your culture is wonderful. I don't know your culture, but I say your culture is wonderful. Why? That is possible by conceding. We have kenjogo and we think and act always with kenjogo. That is the base of us.

The boughs that bear most hang lowest.

Not only Japanese have humble thought. English have the great proverb: "The boughs that bear most hang lowest."

Japanese have the similar proverb: "Ears of rice hang down as they get riper." We boast as we get success. But a boast person will necessarily fall down on the law of cause and effect. We should be humble and modest as we succeed. Ears of rice is the metaphor of our head.

The higher status we are, the lower our heads are. That is not obsequiousness. That is the true greatness.

Lower attitude

Japanese moral is so unique, other people think. Japanese respect modesty. We should live with lower attitude. It is not a rule. It is the law of cause and effect. Nobody has made the law. The law is natural. Nobody or nothing is out of the law.

I want to live a happy life. So I live on the law of cause and effect. Kenjogo is the great wisdom of Japanese. I think it has brought us the great history. Of course we have taken many mistakes and failed. We should improve ourselves for our future. For the purpose we should know ourselves.

Japanese culture is unique.

I have mentioned about Japanese Buddhism in the former articles. Japanese Buddhism is not like the original Buddhism. Japanese have learned not only Buddhism but also Confucianism or other Chinese thought and Christianity or other Occidental thought. Japanese have made unique thought and culture fusing every culture and thought. I think Japanese had had Japanesism before accepting Buddhism. Japanese had accepted Buddhism as Japanesism.

Recently Japanese have very changed and lost our traditional cultures. I don't worry. Japanese have Japanesism yet now.

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